Tag: beer

Dan Hazlett and Matt Gordon of Anheuser-Busch InBev are constantly trying to incorporate new technology into their supply chain to ensure fresher, better-tasting beer to the consumer. In this highlight, they describe the complexity of the beer supply chain, from breweries to distributors to retailers. They mention some of the challenges associated with shipping and inventory management, as well as some of the innovative technologies they are employing to improve the visibility of their payloads, from the breweries all the way to the retailers. This would allow them to take into account weather and traffic, and schedule more accurate loading and unloading times.

Some of the new initiatives at AB InBev are focusing on three main areas: scaling out the visibility capabilities to import/export operations, integrating tracking and planning applications across the whole supply chain, and developing smarter algorithms and predictive analytics. All of these efforts will enable AB to improve the efficiency of their already outstanding supply chain, and shorten the time between the brewery and your stomach.


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In order to reduce operational costs and maximize beer freshness, Anheuser-Busch InBev is constantly identifying new tracking technologies to help them stay on top of their shipments. Many carriers have their own digital portals showing the location and route of their trucks, but since ABI contracts with hundreds of different carriers, the time and complexity needed to manage shipment logistics requires a different solution.

As a result, they’ve developed an application that allows logistics managers to log into a single portal and see real-time tracking on all trucks.  Unlike other existing portals, ABI’s aggregates many different carriers’ data feeds in a single user interface. In addition to seeing where the trucks are, they can also see what routes they’ve taken to get there, the contents of each truck, and the estimated time of delivery. The application is available to wholesalers as well, allowing them to plan ahead for the unloading process.

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The technology also allows ABI to utilize a tracking technology called “geofencing.” As soon as a truck crosses these virtual fences, a sensor pings their distribution centers and lets them know its exact location and the time it arrived at that location. It also gives them insight into their operational efficiency (i.e., how quickly the trucks are being unloaded and turned around).

By using these technologies, ABI is able to have greater visibility of its supply chain on a granular level. They can then take this information to identify the most efficient carriers and negotiate rates.

In the video above, Dan Hazlett and Matt Gordon of ABI describe some of the innovative technologies they are employing to improve the visibility of their payloads. This is a highlight of their presentation at the 2016 Boeing Center Industry Conference at Washington University.

By Evan Dalton

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

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A Boeing Center digital production

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For Anheuser-Busch InBev, it’s difficult enough to manage the most efficient beer supply chain in the U.S. As they acquire an ever-growing number of craft breweries, the complexity of their distribution increases dramatically. But with extremely accurate production planning and time-tested transportation methods, the largest brewer in the world is able to spread the joy of delicious craft beer to the farthest corners of the earth.

Chris Pickett, Senior Director of Tier 1 Warehousing & Transportation, paid a visit to The Boeing Center to talk about his role in AB InBev’s operations. He shared insights on effectively integrating craft beers into a macro beer supply chain, as well as managing load complexity and shipment quantities across brands.

Product mix complexity is managed by AB InBev using three main strategies. First, they use rigid cycle production to maximize output for each SKU. Second, they plan pallets using optimized order quantity, which helps them to meet wholesaler demand using the fewest number of shipments. Third, they build pallets using proprietary technology in the warehouse environment, ensuring the most beneficial product stacking patterns. All of these techniques allow AB InBev to manage an efficient supply chain, while maintaining an extremely high service level for their craft beer offerings.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

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A Boeing Center digital production

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It’s a move that would combine the world’s two biggest beer makers into a global brewing powerhouse: Anheuser-Busch InBev confirmed today it has approached rival SABMiller about a possible takeover.

A thorough antitrust review is a given, experts say. The deal would bring two of America’s best-loved beers, Bud Light and Miller Lite, under the same ownership after generations of fierce competition for market share. It also would unite some of the world’s biggest brands: AB InBev brews Corona and Stella Artois; SABMiller brews Peroni, Pilsner Urquell and Foster’s.

“Due to antitrust, AB InBev will have to divest its share of its joint venture with Molson Coors Brewing Co. in the U.S.,” said William C. Finnie, adjunct professor of strategy at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. “Antitrust may also force divesture of some brands in China and other countries.

“The deal is very similar financially to InBev’s 2008 acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.”

Finnie, who directed market analysis and strategy at the former Anheuser-Busch from 1965 through 1991, also said if the proposed merger goes through, SABMiller can expect the very large cost reductions Anheuser-Busch experienced after the InBev takeover.

“SABMiller is worth a lot more to AB InBev than as an independent company,” Finnie said. “It will slash corporate overhead costs and use its larger size to cut operating costs significantly. They are world-class cost cutters, as everyone recognizes.”

Stock shares in both brewers were up when the news of the proposed merger was announced. If it goes through, the resulting mega-brewery would be worth an estimated $275 billion.

By Erika Ebsworth-Gool, WUSTL Newsroom

Photo Credit: Vismedia


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