Apart from Vasco da Gama, the greatest thing to leave the country has to be the drink of the Gods, Port Wine. Of the many Portuguese producers, one of the best known — and at now nearly 150 years old— is the market leader Cálem.
Established in 1859 by Antonio Alves Cálem, the company markets around 40 brands of port wine and sells into 30 countries, principally in Western Europe and North America, but also in places as far away as Brazil, Puerto Rico, Eastern Europe and New Zealand.
Cálem is involved in all the processes in the production of port wine including farms, vinification, bottling and aging. The port wine stays in casks for a minimum of three years, but on average six to seven years. By law, port wine companies can only sell one third of the total stock- this being necessary given the fact that aging of ports is a fundamental requirement.
Cálem sells 3.5 million bottles (750 ml) of port annually, and keeps more than 8 million liters in stock. 60 percent of the company’s port wine is for the local Portuguese market while 40 percent is exported mainly to Europe.
Port wine making may be difficult, but no more so than dealing with the logistics of storage, bottling and shipping. The wine business involves a wide range of complexities that present real challenges. Producers like Cálem have to regularly report a great deal of information to the official bodies that oversee the industry. The Portuguese Government, like all others, demands taxes, duties and lots of bureaucratic information and statistics.
One of the most important factors that Cálem needed to address was traceability. Their legacy IT system did not have the ability to trace each bottle of port wine. Unless Cálem could guarantee this functionality, supermarkets would be reluctant to buy any of the company’s products.
In addition, Cálem was looking to collaborate more closelywith its customers and suppliers, and to implement a cost reduction program through the centralisation of its logistics.
Solution and capabilities
After evaluating a number of software suppliers, Cálem decided that IBS and its integrated supply chain software, offered the best solution for the job. One of the most important factors was that IBS wine logistics software is able to cover all the company’s processes, ranging from the production and distribution of the grapes to accounting, business intelligence and attracting new customers.
In order to manage liquid stocks, IBS and Cálem have developed a new model, which guarantees traceability across every distribution and logistics process
IBS Integrator is a very powerful tool that is used by Cálem to achieve system integration, data management, data replication and synchronization. The solution allows seamless cross communication for various data formats and is used for ends such as compiling information from and to Excel spreadsheets and accessing databases, providing instant web reports from live data in IBS wine logistics software, emailing up-to-date information to customers and suppliers, maintaining smooth systems operations and providing quick recovery on several key system functions.
Benefits and value
Cooperation between the IBS implementation team and the Cálem staff has been excellent. As a result, the transition from the old logistics system was very professional and Cálem was able to go live with sales and accounts in just three months. The company immediately gained benefits from the impressive IBS wine logistics software offering and have noticed that since installing IBS software, information access is quicker and easier, giving Cálem the competitive edge.
Due to the centralization of logistics, Cálem has reduced its manning costs through natural attrition by 10 percent. In terms of partnership collaboration, Cálem is now linked to customers, suppliers and official departments (such as customs and excise) and wine institutes. This has led to big improvements in relationships, a better understanding of its business and an increased market share.
Supermarkets are now confident in Cálem’s ability to trace any bottle, down to the type of grape used, thanks to tracking numbers on bottle seals.
By taking advantage of the multi-dimensional functionality in IBS financial software, Cálem is able to analyze returns by product by customer, which has led to a greater efficiency. Moreover, analysis has resulted in a reduction of some 15 percent of the company’s bad debts.
The integrated nature of IBS wine logistics software has improved the spread of information and guaranteed that the company’s main asset of Port wine is exactly what its customers need.