Last weekend, I was down in Los Angeles visiting a friend. We went out for lunch at the Golden Road Brewing pub. The food was typical pub style with juicy burgers and fries and the beer was really good. With labels like “Wolf Among Weeds” IPA and “Get Up Offa that Brown” ale, we had a fun afternoon tasting the various selections. Yet looking around the place, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a front for one of those monster conglomerates. This small brewery couldn’t possibly brew its own beer, could it?
My observation sparked a lively debate with my friend on whether a small company can even compete with a large establishment that can afford the best technology to run its business. So does the size of a company really matter in determining its success? I always root for the underdog but I also based my argument on a study I recently read. Oxford Economics found that small and midsize companies are thinking and acting globally. They are investing aggressively in technology to improve operations and making themselves competitive with rivals of all sizes and on a global level. Technology seems to be the equalizer since every company needs back-end systems to run the business. My friend argued that a smaller company couldn’t possibly afford the technology to run its business.
I got the bartender involved to get the scoop on Golden Road Brewing. The company was co-founded by Meg Gill. She only has 50 employees and yes, they brew and can their own beers locally in Los Angeles—only 551 feet way from the pub. The company was founded in 2011 and they sell to local beer distributors and stores. In 2013, they brewed 18,000 barrels—a huge volume for a start-up craft brewer. Yet behind the scenes, Golden Road was using spreadsheets to manage the business. They couldn’t efficiently access the business data, which resulted in loss of productivity. With a goal to brew 60,000 barrels-a-year, to compete with the big boys, they needed a serious back-end system to manage this growth and expansion. But does an affordable ERP exist?
The answer came in the form of a cloud. Golden Road Brewing chose a cloud-based data management software specifically for craft breweries—and it didn’t break the bank. Now they can access information anytime, from anywhere, and on any device. As a result, they run at lower costs, have better inventory management, and more accurate business forecasts. You can read the full story here. By investing in an ERP, Golden Road runs their business much better. So, when Costco came a calling, they were able to “shift production schedules, assign distributors, and make raw material deliveries “on the fly” to meet the requirements.”
So does the size of a company really matter when you’re trying to compete with larger establishments? The answer is No. In this day an age, technology is leveling the playing the field, allowing companies of all sizes to compete. So now I don’t have to fly down to Los Angeles to purchase Golden Road beer. I can buy it at my local Costco.
If you are a small to mid-size company searching for products to help run your business more efficiently, check out the affordable options here. You might be surprised by what you find.