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You probably got into the roasting business because you love coffee, not because you were jazzed to manage green bean inventory, track sales orders, and enter accounting journal entries. But at the end of the day, your roastery is a business—and you have to manage it like one if you have any intention of growing or expanding over time.
If you’re not even tracking your key business metrics yet, you might be looking for a spreadsheet template you can download online or thinking about making one yourself. For the love of coffee and all things good, step away from the search engine for a minute. Read this before you become buried in a mountain of manual data entry you can’t dig your way out of.
Aspects of Your Business You Should Be Tracking
If you’re new to owning a business, the details of managing it can be overwhelming. Even if your roastery has been running successfully for years, you may have only recently realized that tracking metrics like batch cost, revenue, and cost of goods sold is what will take your team to the next level in the industry or in your region. Don’t even know where to start? Here are the main areas of your roasting business you should be tracking on a daily (yes, daily) basis:
- Sales – Sales orders coming in, invoices sent to customers, and customer contact information
- Inventory – Up-to-date inventory based on batches completed and in-progress, as well as forecasted inventory needs based on upcoming batches and current orders
- Production – All batches planned and in progress, the ingredients required for each, available roasters, and completed batches that need to be packaged or stored
- Accounting – Accurate numbers based on all your sales and production activities that sync with (or allow easy upload to) your chosen accounting software (QuickBooks, Xero, etc.)
Ideally, all this information will be accessible to your entire team when and where they need it, whether they’re in the roastery, at a sales meeting with a local shop, or on the delivery route (if the data only lives in one static spreadsheet on the owner’s office computer, it won’t be useful to the rest of the team doing the work).
Why Spreadsheets Are Not Sufficient
If you’re like most craft producers, you might start using spreadsheets to manage your business’s data once clipboards and handwritten notes become insufficient or too disorganized for your team. You might have different lists for inventory, batches completed, and batches in progress, in addition to emails that come in from customers asking for more product.
Why isn’t that enough?
If your goal is to keep your business the same size and just keep chugging along, this process might work for you. After all, it’s your business, and it’s your prerogative to run it however you want. But if you have any intention of scaling or finding ways to be more efficient so you can explore new opportunities and hire more team members, you can’t go on like this forever.
While using a spreadsheet is better than not tracking your numbers at all, this process has major limitations:
- Your inventory spreadsheets won’t provide any insights when you add an in-progress batch or enter a new sales order. That’s a lot of time spent entering raw numbers and calculating your metrics without any added benefit such as inventory forecasting or automatic batch cost calculations. You’ll have to do that analysis on your own.
- Your team will need to update multiple spreadsheets every time a new order comes in, a new batch is created, and the order is fulfilled rather than entering the information in one system.
- Spreadsheets don’t automatically sync with accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero. Instead, your accountant or bookkeeper has to manually enter every single invoice you send or receive—talk about a time waster.
Think about how frustrating it is to accurately predict how much green bean inventory you need to have on hand to fulfill your next 100 orders. And what if you cup a batch and decide to trash it because the flavor profile isn’t up to your standards? Spreadsheets are not equipped to intelligently handle these situations.
How to Manage Your Roastery Efficiently
If all that sounded complicated, it doesn’t have to be—really. You do have to know your numbers. You do have to maintain accurate records of your inventory, sales, production, and accounting. But it’s easy when you have a tool that helps you manage it all.
Great roasting business management software will make everything easier on your team—not harder. You may have to make some adjustments to your process to get comfortable using it, but the benefits are many. With the right software, your team can:
- Track your inventory with a visual floor plan or in reporting format, depending on your preference
- Save on inventory costs by basing purchases off incoming sales orders
- Automatically calculate production costs and plan for future batches based on past ingredient and packaging costs
- Create custom roasting profiles and recipes and save them for future use
- Run your production schedule based on sales orders received
- Confidently fulfill orders with on-the-spot inventory checks
- Track lot numbers to aid with the organic certification process
- Generate invoices and sync them to major accounting software tools like QuickBooks or Xero
- View sales and productions dashboards with all your key metrics and create custom reports
- Access it from any device so your team can use it from anywhere—from sales reps on the road to roasters on the production floor
- Provide direct feedback to the product team that is considered for new feature releases
You also want to make sure you work with a company who will offer unlimited support when you have a question—otherwise, you might be on your own if something ever goes wrong in the system.
Ready to Dive In? The Team at Ekos Can Help
No matter where you are in your journey to be a business expert—or if you’d rather never look at another number again—the team at Ekos is here to make managing your coffee roasting business easy on you. Our software has helped more than 1,600 craft producers all over the world simplify their operations, and we’re on a personal mission to kill the spreadsheet. Our system offers everything we mentioned above and so much more, and our dedicated team is always here to help. In addition to a great product, you’ll get:
- Unlimited support
- Short response times
- A knowledgeable and attentive on-boarding team
- Cloud-based software that is always there and always up to date
Drop us a line and let us know how we can help your team make more coffee. Learn more at goekos.com today.