Sixpoint Brewery’s Focus On Supply Chain Innovation Means Better Service and Better Beer
Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery is known for its delicious blend of art and science (“mad science” for brew fans in the know). The beverage producer brings fresh and sometimes funky flavors to life for craft beer lovers all across the country.
Over the past year, Sixpoint has released over 40 different formulations to local and national audiences. The brewery has an app that allows consumers to buy the beer in advance of pickup so there is little to no wait. It also has a “beer finder” so fans can locate the nearest Sixpoint retailer.
Julie Rooney, Sixpoint’s logistics coordinator, knows that in order to deliver the best product to her customers – and their customers – Sixpoint Brewery needs to blend of art, science and technology – something that’s often overlooked, according to Rooney.
“We’re trying to maintain a cold supply chain,” she shared. “We want what’s best for our beer from start to finish. Using technology so we’re the most efficient in our transportation of our products is the best way we can do that. We don’t need to spend really big bucks to take really good care of our supply chain.”
Rooney, and Sixpoint Brewery, are members of Convoy’s recently announced Innovation Lab, where Convoy’s technology teams partner with shippers to solve difficult freight problems – no matter the industry.
We sat down with Julie to learn more about her experience with Convoy’s Innovation Lab, and how the people at Sixpoint view the future of freight.
Convoy: How did you get into logistics?
Julie: I’ve always been a fan of craft beer. I started homebrewing in college, and I then went on to get my masters in global supply chain management in Belgium. I studied business in undergrad, and I decided that was the best way to get into beer, since I didn’t have a science background. Shipping is something that every manufacturer needs – including breweries.
Convoy: What’s something that you love about working in logistics?
Julie: For me, it’s more about the beer than it is the logistics. But what I like about it is that there’s always puzzles to be solved. At times, it can be frustrating, but it’s rewarding when our beer is in the right place at the end of the day.
Convoy: What’s something you hate about your logistics?
Julie: The damage claims, because I know how frustrating it is for our warehouses to accept in damaged and leaky cases, or have to rebuild a pallet.
Convoy: Tell us why you started working with Convoy.
Julie: About two years ago, during the big freight crisis when no one could find reefer trailers, and we were all on the spot market, we looked for new contacts in the industry. That’s when we found Convoy. You were new to the market at that time, so weren’t servicing loads in the Northeast. But, we were able to get quotes for lanes. We started shipping with you about a year later.
Convoy: How did you get involved with the Innovation Lab?
Julie: Early on, our account executive approached us with the idea. And it stood out to us. We pride ourselves on being on the edge of technology. Sixpoint developed an app where people buy our beer in advance of our canning releases. For a big release, people wait in line overnight for something special. So our app is a big advancement in the industry. And that’s just one of the ways we’re using technology to get our beer to our customers. As soon as we heard the Innovation Lab mentioned, we wanted in.
Convoy: How has the partnership with the teams in the Innovation Lab been so far?
Julie: It’s been nothing but amazing. The day you came out to meet with us was the day we became a part of the Artisanal Brewing Ventures umbrella. There have been a lot of changes with our supply chain since, and Convoy’s helped us work through them all. It’s been great. When the Convoy team came to our office, our founder was like, “This is awesome!”
Convoy: Working with the Innovation Lab is a commitment from both sides. How has the time spent been so far?
Julie: It’s been super easy. We have half hour check-in every few weeks or so, plus some other occasional meetings. I spend time using and testing the technology, and we know it’s going to pay off in a big way. We waste time in so many other ways because of inefficiency in freight. This is time well spent.
Convoy: How do decide which problems to work on with the Innovation Lab team?
Julie: The issues that we’re looking to solve are the things we are always grumbling about. My main focus is on booking freight, and it’s easy to say it’d be better if we did it in a different way. Now we are working on that. I’m excited about working on more automation in the future.
Convoy: What does the future look like? How will you know your partnership with Convoy’s Innovation Lab has paid off?
Julie: I’ll know we’re successful when we have an issue with complicated freight, and it’s easily fixed. I think with automation, we have the reduction of human error. It’s happened to everyone. You send over the wrong number or something else. If you move toward technology, it makes everyone’s lives easier, and it makes our business more efficient. There are fewer missed shipments, and that’s better for the environment. The future of freight is going to be helpful in so many ways. It will leave more room for people to get time back and make improvements in other new ways.
Interested in innovating with Convoy?
Our product and engineering teams want to talk to you! We have four initiatives that are currently incubating in the lab, plus a long list of projects we want to explore next. If you are a shipper who is excited to transform your business, join the Convoy Innovation Lab today.