New Belgium Brewing Company is on a mission — and it’s using Microsoft Dynamics to accomplish it. As two new craft breweries open every day in the United States, New Belgium’s external sales representatives, known as Beer Rangers, are out “saving handles” in real time.
“There’s a lot of competition out there,” says Travis Morrison of New Belgium. “With Microsoft Dynamics, we have the data at our fingertips to show bar owners the volume of our beer they’ve sold and the margins they’re getting from New Belgium. We’ve been able to actually save draft handles, or keep our beer on tap, by using this application.”
Using a custom Windows 8 app that synchronizes with Microsoft Dynamics AX, Beer Rangers have mobile access to New Belgium’s customer relationship management system from virtually anywhere, at any time — a necessity for sales teams that spend their work days hopping from bar to grocery store to distribution center. They can view sales and inventory information, schedule appointments, process orders, share account notes with team members, and demonstrate tangible business results directly to customers, no matter where they are.
The Windows 8 app was fully rolled out to Beer Rangers in August, and the sales information it provides has helped contribute to 33 percent higher sales in January-February 2014 compared with the same timeframe last year. Mobile access to real-time data has become critical in saving draft handles across the U.S., which has been one of the biggest surprise benefits to Morrison and his colleagues. They initially chose Microsoft Dynamics for its communications and organization functionalities, but they instantly changed the way they did business once they realized how timely its data could be. It wasn’t simply a tracking tool anymore; the Beer Rangers were able to react on the spot to resolve concerns.
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Before implementing the Microsoft Dynamics app, the Beer Rangers had to calculate costs in their heads, but with these real-time, highly-specific reports, they can track sales against their business goals and priorities. The data becomes immediately actionable, allowing the sales team to show customers information they wouldn’t otherwise see.
“Customers have also appreciated that a brewery our size has access to this kind of data,” Morrison says. “It also lets the Beer Rangers have authentic conversations while out in the field. If you’re trying to have an authentic conversation with a bar manager, but you’re staring at your device, that really takes away from the experience. It’s nice that our app is an extension — it’s enabling, not constraining us. And that’s how we do business, and that’s how we view our IT systems: Am I enabling my co-workers to do their best, or am I constraining them?”
This authenticity spills over into every aspect of New Belgium’s operations. Employees pride themselves on their passion for both great beer and great customer service. The Beer Rangers extend that collaborative experience into the marketplace, engaging face-to-face with the very people who are buying — and drinking — their beer. Microsoft Dynamics has been folded into the brewery’s culture to provide the missing data without disrupting the flow of existing business processes, since New Belgium’s IT infrastructure was built using other Microsoft technologies.
“It was a no-brainer to go with Microsoft Dynamics,” Morrison says. “From an IT standpoint, we’re a brewery — we make beer. That should be our No. 1 focus. So any time we can spend making beer instead of integrating our technology, that’s ideal.”
Join us this week at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 in Atlanta to hear more about how New Belgium has used Microsoft Dynamics to maintain its position as the third-largest craft brewery in the U.S. To learn more, visit http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/convergence/atlanta14.
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Microsoft News Center Staff