5 Key Elements of a Successful Can Supply Program

Why Price Isn't Everything

When it comes to sourcing aluminum cans, price is almost always the primary consideration while other key elements are overlooked. These 5 Key Element of a successful can supply program demonstrate how you can get immense value from having a customized program that works with your strategic goals and ideal workflow.

1: Dedicated Account Management

Did you know that it can take as many as 30 emails to have a truckload of cans produced and delivered to a customer? Now I know what you’re thinking, “Not my team! We have that process fully optimized!” If you don’t believe me, ask your team how many emails and calls they exchange with suppliers and logistic companies every time you submit an order. Oh, and let’s not forget about submitting concrete forecasts for the upcoming months. Do these companies think your team has a magic ball to see into the future?! What happens if the hops you were supposed to receive for next month’s brew get back ordered or the delivery gets pushed back? Not like that ever happens…

Alright, let’s quantify this. Say it takes 2 hours of emailing, calling, and frustration to order and receive one truckload of cans. Multiply this by the number of orders you typically make in a year to determine your annual effort for procuring cans. For example, if you order 20 truckloads of cans per year, this is 40 hours a year dedicated to can supply. Having a can supplier that offers account management removes this workload from your organization and significantly reduces the time, effort, and cost of procuring cans.

2: Proactive Communication of Market Changes

Have you ever received an invoice for a truckload of cans and noticed the amount was different from the last time you ordered? A lot of suppliers are subject to variable pricing and will either increase or decrease sell prices to adjust for fluctuation in their buy price. Imagine you were aware of these changes and could plan to either stock up your warehouse to prepare for increased costs or push out orders to the following month/quarter with the anticipation of a reduction in cost. A great partner will keep you informed of these changes and allow you to make strategic decisions for the benefit of your bottom line.

3: Collaborative Approach to Manage Inventory

After the impact of the candemic, a lot of businesses have taken the strategic approach of holding cans in inventory in case further supply issues arise. If your company is looking to take on capital investment or must make an unexpectedly large purchase, it may be advantageous to deplete can inventory before placing new orders for cans. A great partner will work with you to reorganize orders in service of your company’s cash flow position and will not penalize you for not purchasing your projected volumes.

4: Consistency of Can Supply and Truckload Deliveries

While the shitstorm of aluminum can supply has settled for the time being, it is still paramount for a can supplier to deliver the cans they have promised… and deliver them ON TIME! As we enter a year filled with a lot of uncertainty and shrinking margins, delaying production schedules due to a late or missed delivery can be the make-or-break point for a lot of businesses. A great partner will also ensure these cans are delivered in good shape and work with you to rectify the situation if there is damage to your cans. Working with a partner that gives a shit about you means they understand the impact that delays or damages can have on your business, and they have the mindset of earning your business every single delivery.

5: Flexible Forecasting That Matches Your Workflow

Similar to managing inventory, forecasting can supply is a never-ending effort that you should not have to do alone. Especially with the seasonality in the beverage industry, there is a ton of value in working with a partner who intimately understands your business goals and works with you in a way that sets you up for success. A great partner will work with the changes in your forecasts, that inevitably happen throughout the year, and should never penalize you for not being 100% accurate in predicting the future. At the end of the day, suppliers should genuinely give a shit about your success and are not just there just to make a buck.

While price is certainly important when procuring a commodity like an aluminum can, it shouldn’t be the only consideration. By considering these 5 Key Elements, craft beverage companies can ensure that they are getting the best value for their money and that they are entering a partnership with people who want to see them win.

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