Tracking vintages within an item is a process that every wine distributor has to handle. There are several ways within most ERP systems, but below are features Infuzion® offers that can be applied to many other ERP systems.
There are several factors to help evaluate the best choice for handling vintages on an item. Based on the item, you might want to handle vintages differently per item.
Tracking vintages utilizing separate item numbers.
The clearest way to separate sales in reporting to suppliers is by maintaining separate item numbers. Most supplier depletion reporting and/or sales reporting tools within the industry do not handle separate lot tracking, so maintaining separate item numbers is the clearest way for suppliers to track sales to individual vintages. There are features that an ERP can offer to help ease the maintenance and complexity of multiple vintages. Some features Infuzion® offers:
Easy way to copy items – If you are setting up a new item for each vintage, it is helpful for the ERP to provide an easy way to copy from an existing item. Make sure to think of things you want the user to re-check and not default, such as re-entering the FOB or other cost information.
Controlling the new vintage sale after the old vintage is out of stock – Typically, distributors do not want to start selling the new vintage until they have depleted the older vintage. Infuzion® offers the ability to mark the new vintage as a substitute for the older vintage, so it will automatically start selling the new vintage when it runs out of stock.
Controlling what vintages the sales force sees – Along with not selling the new vintage until the old vintage is out of stock, you also might not want to show it until you are starting to sell into that vintage. With Pocket Advantage®, you can control an item to hide or show and not allow orders. Infuzion® has an automated job at night that looks for vintages that have started to substitute to the new vintage and mark it to be shown in PA the next day. It allows you to pick at the point of the vintage copy to decide if you want to show and not allow orders until the older one is out of stock or hide and not show until it starts automatically substituting.
Controlling automatic substitution for when it applies – Automatic substitution is not always a good fit. If the new vintage is changing price, pack, or bottle size, it might need a conversation between a sales rep and a customer. In Infuzion® you can set up items to utilize the alternate item feature in Pocket Advantage®. The feature notifies the sales rep that the product is out of stock, gives a suggested product, and alerts the rep to have a conversation before selecting the alternate item for ordering.
Tracking vintages within the same item number.
If it is not required to keep sales reporting segregated by vintage, but you want to track an estimate of inventory in stock by vintage, as well as have the system notify and update people as vintages change, and/or do some internal evaluation on vintage sales, then track the item through vintage tagging. Vintage tagging allows you to associate a cost layer or receipt layer to a specific vintage. This is great for estimates but does depend on the distributor’s warehouse utilizing good stock rotation to sell a product in a first-in, first-out process (FIFO) similar to how you typically would cost layer a product. Some features Infuzion® offers:
During a receipt through a WMS, the user could be prompted for items marked to vintage tag to enter the vintage. If you are not using a WMS, you can manually enter it during the receiving process within the system.
If the vintage being received is different than the previous time it was received, the system can auto email a notice to purchasing or sales management that the vintage is about to change.
A report can show different cost or receipt layers for an item and what vintage is associated with each layer. You can also see how much is left on stock (again, an estimate based on your warehouse accuracy of rotation).
When the system starts selling out of a new vintage layer, it can email the sales management team. The system can also update the item card with the new vintage layer. This will start showing if you have this column on invoices and in Pocket Advantage® the next day.
Most distributors have wine items best tracked by separate item numbers, some that can be tracked within the same item number, and some that don’t need any vintage tracking. Understanding each of these methods' pros and cons will help you decide the best method for your ERP system to help you track vintages for your different scenarios.
If you are an Infuzion customer and would like to explore more vintage tracking options, please email Jami@infuzion.com