The NBWA Innovation & Technology Committee meets several times a year to discuss emerging trends in the beer distribution industry on a variety of topics. Over the past several years, the Committee has addressed issues such as Global Data Synchronization, shared services, green and sustainable solutions, alcohol detection and monitoring technologies and a variety of issues surrounding the use of e-commerce in the beer industry.
In recent years, NBWA has witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of e-commerce tools embraced by its distributor members. Beer distributors are using various forms of technology to increase productivity levels and lower costs in the areas of forecasting, delivery, warehousing and payment. Increasingly, distributors are recognizing the key role that technology plays in the future of the beer industry and the competitive advantage that technology brings into their operation.
Technology allows distributors of any size to enhance their overall ability to compete and provide value-added services to their retailer customers. Distributors that adopt innovative technology tools improve their business practices through the elimination or reduction of inefficiencies within their organizations and increase operational effectiveness. At present, a majority of beer distributors engage in electronic funds transfer (EFT), utilize their suppliers Web sites, take advantage of portable data collection terminals and employ vehicle-based portable computers. Others use hand-held scanners with their retail trading partners and have implemented global positioning systems (GPS).
Staying ahead of technology advancements and trends is a challenge and vital for survival in today's competitive marketplace. To remain successful in the 21st century, beer industry professionals must understand the benefits of technology tools and options available to them.
The Innovation & Technology Committee will continue to monitor and research emerging technologies and tools used in the beer distribution industry. Any questions about the goals or mission of the Committee or ideas about future projects the Committee should consider should be directed to NBWA’s Senior Director of State & Industry Affairs, Dave Christman, firstname.lastname@example.org .