Wood Management: Enhancing Maturation and Operational Efficiency

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Enhancing Distillery Efficiency and Quality Control

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, as of May 2023, there are currently 145 Scotch whisky distilleries and over 22 million casks in maturation. Therefore, it’s vital to take the upmost concern for one of the most valuable materials used, the cask.

Yet, in many distilleries there is a lack of visibility and control over this most crucial asset resulting in inefficient operating processes and under utilisation or wastage of the existing inventory.

DRAMS Wood Management module is tailored for distilleries looking to maximise the potential of every barrel. By tracking the lifecycle of each cask, from receipt, through multiple dump and fill cycles, repairs and eventually to retirement, distillers gain control over wood inventory performance and utilisation. This complete traceability empowers distillers with the insights needed to ensure the wood’s impact on spirit quality and flavour profiles remains consistent over time.

Here are just a couple of ways our DRAMS Wood Management module may benefit your operation…

Inventory Visibility

The Wood Management module allows you to monitor the usage and location of all casks, both filled and empty.

The system enables users to track each barrel independently of any spirit it may contain, providing complete visibility into the wood inventory and delivering exact information about the number, condition and location of each barrel type (e.g 2nd Fill Bourbon or 1st Fill Sherry).

With this information readily available, users can more easily plan production and re-casking operations as well as identifying where additional empty wood should be purchased to meet future requirements.

Inventory Utilisation

Going beyond providing simple inventory counts, the Wood Management product will also enable you to perform detailed analysis of your wood inventory data.

Using the Cask Enquiry function within this module, users can filter both their filled and empty wood inventory data to search for a specific inventory item or to return details of casks which meet the specified criteria. In addition to filtering on barrel characterises data, users can also use this function to search for casks which:

  • exceed a pre-defined maximum permitted wood age
  • have been filled a specific number of times, within a range of fills (e.g. 4-6 fills) or that exceed a pre-defined maximum number
  • have been empty for greater than a specified number of days.

With this information, users can ensure all barrels within circulation remain within certain quality guidelines and that when selecting barrels for use in a specific operation the most optimal inventory items are chosen to ensure a maximum ROI on the wood investment whilst also maintaining consistency in the quality of the final product.

Inventory Traceability

In addition to providing you with all inventory details, the Wood Management module also enables you to view and record a complete and detailed history of each barrel, giving complete traceability from receipt to retirement.

Each barrel is documented within the system using unique ID, enabling each occurrence in the cask’s lifecycle to be logged as a cask event. These events include details such as:

  • Wood Type
  • Original supplier and date receipted
  • Filling & dumping operations
  • Spirit type(s) previously contained in the barrel
  • Repairs and other maintenance
  • Date of the last re-charr
  • Cask ownership and location

Supplier Performance

The Cask Assessment function of the Wood Management Module enables you to monitor the quality of all incoming wood shipments, documenting details of barrel quality and giving insight into individual supplier performance.

Using this functionality within the Wood Management module, users assess each cask within a supplier shipment, identifying the number of barrels that must be sent to the cooperage for repair or immediately culled, recording this information within the DRAMS system using a hand-held scanner device.

Custom Escalation Rules can be established which enable users to define acceptable tolerance levels for the number of unsatisfactory barrels within a shipment. The system provides users with the ability to log notes and photographic evidence which can be sent directly to the supplier in the event of an escalation.

Over time trends in supplier performance can be identified, allowing users to maintain specific quality standards with each supplier, assess the ROI of each relationship and negotiate on future contracts.

Cooperage Performance

The Cooperage Application is an optional product, which can be used in conjunction with the DRAMS Wood Management module. Most suited to operations with an onsite Cooperage, this functionality enables the documentation of all repair details performed against the record of each individual barrel giving insight into Cooperage performance.

This application can be used on tablet devices within the Cooperage environment, allowing users to log the start and end time of each maintenance task, the results of any subsequent quality control measures along with the unique ID of the Cooper who carried out the work.

Barrel history, including information about the number of times a barrel is returned for rework are all details documented within the application, providing you with the insights needed to monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of the distillery’s cooperage.

Summary

In conclusion, the DRAMS Wood Management module offers a comprehensive solution for Scotch whisky distilleries to optimise their cask management processes. With a focus on inventory visibility, utilisation, and traceability, distillers can gain precise insights into their wood inventory’s performance and impact on spirit quality. The module’s features, such as the Cask Enquiry function, provide detailed analysis capabilities, allowing users to filter and search for specific criteria, ensuring the maintenance of quality standards.

The ability to trace each cask’s complete lifecycle, from receipt to retirement, enhances transparency and accountability. This not only aids in production planning and re-casking operations but also facilitates the selection of optimal inventory items, maximising return on the wood investment while maintaining consistency in the final product’s quality.

Moreover, the inclusion of Supplier Performance assessment adds another layer of control, enabling distilleries to monitor the quality of incoming wood shipments, identify trends in supplier performance, and negotiate future contracts based on reliable data. The optional Cooperage Application further enhances the module’s capabilities, providing insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of the distillery’s cooperage operations.

Overall, the DRAMS Wood Management module addresses the critical need for visibility and control over cask assets, offering distilleries a powerful tool to enhance operational efficiency, minimise wastage, and consistently produce high-quality Scotch whisky.

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For more information about DRAMS and all our products and services, complete the form to speak to a consultant or arrange a demo.

 
 
Testimonials

What our clients say…

Whether your distillery is large or small, near or far, one thing remains the same: our clients love our software and support. But don’t take our word for it; here’s what
they have to say…

Branding Dots
Rab Sorman
I know where every spirit is, how it’s maturing, and how it fits into the bigger picture… this plays a crucial role in future blends
Whisky Stocks and Blending Manager, Glenmorangie
Alistair Paton
It does make such a difference talking to knowledgeable people who have years of experience dealing with our specialised industry and who are always prepared to go the extra mile.
Project Manager, The Tomatin Distillery Co.
Ron Welsh
DRAMS is a great inventory management system. It allows me to quickly analyse the stocks we have and what we can use it for; and allows us to easily allocate to future blends.
Master Blender and Strategic Inventory Manager, Beam Suntory
Christine Leggat
Every piece of spirit that moves within the business is captured within DRAMS.
Stock Controller, Inver House Distillers
John Kerr
The knowledge of DRAMS’ consultants – both of their product and of bulk stock processing as a whole – gave us a solid platform to work from.
Bulk Planner, John Dewar & Sons
Ron Welsh
You need to know exactly what you have and when it becomes of age to put into bottle. For this you require granularity of month by month data.
Master Blender and Strategic Inventory Manager, Beam Suntory
David Jordan
For any warehouse, any floor, rick and level, I can see what stock is there and how much space I have at the push of a button.
Maturing Inventory Manager, Wild Turkey