365WineTrade: Simplifying Bill and Hold for Wine Distributors

August 26, 2022 Tony Castellano

Are you a wine & spirits distributor operating in markets and states that allow bill and hold arrangements? If so, are you taking full advantage of this opportunity to increase sales and revenue and improve your inventory management? Or are you like many wine & spirits distributors that find it so manual and time-consuming you either don’t do it at all or struggle to do it well.

If you can do bill and hold, but wish it was more efficient, accurate, and effective — this article is for you. Explore how 365WineTrade automates the bill and hold process and delivers big benefits for you and your customers.

Easy, Accurate Bill and Hold with 365WineTrade

Offering bill and hold to your customers is a win-win opportunity. You improve inventory planning, sales, revenue, and cash flow. Your customer can take advantage of purchasing high-demand items in advance or volume discounts even when they don’t have the storage space to store it all at one time. During a time of dreadfully slow supply chain issues, this can be game-changing for you and your customers.

If you don’t have full visibility into your bill and hold process, inventory control is a nightmare, and you are always at risk of bill and hold inventory getting shipped out to someone else. It doesn’t have to be that way. 365WineTrade makes bill and hold sales a breeze.

The key to our solution is the ability to create “virtual locations and bins” in the system for inventory designated to bill and hold customers without impacting your physical inventory.

How It Works

Let’s say you have a customer wanting to purchase 100 cases of wine with 50 cases shipped immediately and 50 cases held for 3 months. No problem!

To set up your customer’s bill and hold order, you simply:

  • Create a special “Bill and Hold Sale” order and agreement with an expiration in 3 months
  • Create a virtual location in the system with a bin code specific to this customer
  • Invoice your customer for 100 cases of wine and get paid in full upfront

The 100 cases of wine get moved into the customer’s virtual bin location in the system so it can’t be sold to anyone else. Physically, it’s still in your warehouse. When your customer is ready for a shipment, you:

  • Create a special “Bill and Hold Ship” sales order that is automatically zero dollars since the customer has already paid
  • The system automatically releases shipped inventory from their unique virtual bin

365WineTrade is tracking your virtual and physical inventory in real time and creating journal entries behind the scenes so you always have complete, accurate visibility into all your inventory and customer transactions.

But what if the customer cancels, returns, or forfeits a bill and hold order?

While we can’t prevent these common customer challenges, we sure can make them easy to manage in 365WineTrade. We offer multiple order types to handle the most common bill and hold scenarios such as sales, shipment, cancelation, returns, and forfeits. There are also helpful pop-ups and alerts built in to prevent mistakes and ensure that when you create orders, you know which customer has what inventory and where.

A Bonus Use for Virtual Locations

We’ve talked about how valuable virtual location bins are to reserve and manage inventory for your customers, but there’s another use that is equally awesome. You can also create a virtual location for each salesperson in your company. Every bottle they take from inventory for samples, tasting events, customer appreciation—whatever the reason—is tracked and accounted for.    

Get Full Inventory Visibility with 365WineTrade

Inventory can be very complicated to manage in any case. When you add the complexities of bill and hold, it can be difficult to manually keep track of inventory. This can cause problems internally and with customers, as well as in situations like insurance claims should you ever have to prove inventory was, in fact, in your possession. 365WineTrade will help solve any of these challenges. 

About the Author

Tony Castellano

As Western Computer's VP of Sales, Tony oversees sales and business processes to ensure that the company's large customer base is supported.

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