Demystifying Inventory Allocation For Wine & Spirits Distributors

I recently had a long discussion with a national wine and spirits distributor about inventory allocations and fulfillment of orders. Since product allocations and reservations are an industry standard practice, we started to discuss the topic when an interesting question came up. 

“Are allocations hurting our sales?”  

wasn’t sure if he was addressing the question to me or his team, but I asked him to tell me more about it. His concern was that allocated items for a particular customer, state, or region were not being made available to customers who actually wanted to purchase those items right now, today. “Wine gets allocated, but not taken, and we walk from other business.” 

After his explanation, all I heard on the other line was crickets.  

With our experience in the wine and spirits distribution industry, I was able to break through the uncomfortable silence and share that our 365WineTrade solution would support that type of allocation look-up right from the sales order.   

Tell me more,” they said.  

Taking the Pain Out of Allocations 

I explained how 365WineTrade inventory allocation supports 10 entity types including by state, distributor, brands, producers, salespeople, and more. You can even allocate by business unit and sales managers. With the ability to create a priority hierarchy tree and see allocations by location, the system can look for allocations on multiple levels, provide a one-stop allocation availability overview, and fulfill those orders in one screen.  

The bottom line is that 365WineTrade makes it very easy to visually identify where product is allocated and, if a customer is not buying it, take it off so you can sell it to another customer. You can identify for example a customer that was allocated 10 cases and only bought 5 cases so you can pass product to another customer ready to buy. Additionally, organizations can establish security around allocations to prevent just any employee/salesperson from making changes to allocations.  

Historically, this is a time-consuming manual process for wine & spirits distributors, so this was welcome news to all. After learning how simple allocations are in our 365WineTrade solution, those on the call started to confess more challenges with their current system: 

  • "We spend a lot of time manually tracking allocations…" 

  • "Our challenge is that nothing is connected; we go to different screens and different areas for everything…” 

  • “We track allocations in 3 separate systems so it’s difficult to prevent issues…” 

Are Allocations Preventing or Boosting Your Sales? 

It was a lively and informative discussion that wrapped up around reserving against future inventory with our purchase consolidation feature for importing. We all came away with the general agreement that allocations of wine and spirits shouldn’t prevent sales—it can increase sales! The issue just might be the technology you are trying track to them with.  

Contact our experts today to learn more about product allocations in 365WineTrade or see it in action with a live demonstration for your team.  

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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