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Leading Distributor of Fine Wines, Spirits, and Beers chooses Clarkston to Implement SAP

Today’s wine and spirits distributors face incredibly complex business challenges – from increased demands from wine and spirits suppliers to unique state and local laws and regional customer preferences. As a leading multi-state distributor of fine wines, spirits, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages, The Charmer Sunbelt Group (CSG) recognized that it needed stronger capabilities and processes in its core business functions to maintain and strengthen the company’s position as the “Distributor of Choice”, while at the same time bolstering its highly effective localized sales and distribution structure.

Challenges & Solutions

Challenge 1: Wine and spirits manufacturers frequently undergo mergers, acquisitions and alliances that cause brands to be moved back and forth, requiring beverage distributors like CSG to remain nimble and maintain a dynamic portfolio.

Solution: CSG sought a common process and technology platform that would help the company maintain its strong position within its business segment. One of the initial steps was to upgrade the company’s existing ERP system from SAP 4.7 to ECC 6.0 at their 10 current locations with the following modules: HR, FI, CO, PA, MM, WM, IP, and SD.

To manage rebates, chargebacks, and incentive compensation, CSG implemented the Incentive and Paybacks Module developed by Vistex, an SAP partner. In addition, Microsoft was chosen for the data warehouse to provide enhanced capabilities around enterprise pricing and sales reporting.

The team employed various innovative and unique processes to achieve an accurate and rapid deployment, including:

  • Strong PMO
  • Focused, integrated project teams for each house
  • Effective change management program to balance local (state) and corporate requirements
  • Robust testing process designed to be used at each deployment

Challenge 2: The three-tier alcohol beverage distribution system, as well as variations in demographics by brand and type of product consumed, make it difficult to maximize profits while streamlining costs in the beverage distribution business.

Solution: As the SAP blueprint was implemented across the enterprise, CSG developed the other key component of its strategy—centralizing core business functions in order to improve service, increase efficiency, and support localization where appropriate.

The project team took charge of the assessment, design, and implementation of Shared Services, a model that consolidates support operations for selected business functions into a single, highly efficient organizational unit. This improves efficiency by eliminating duplication and streamlining processes. The Shared Services solution was designed to:

  • Further leverage CSG’s SAP investment
  • Increase focus on core competencies
  • Provide better service to suppliers and customers
  • Reduce transactional and operational costs
  • Ease integration of new business units
  • Increase net operating profit

For more, please download our report.