Pictured: Richard Murphy, Datapac and Mary Hayden, Walsh Whiskey Distillery
Datapac helps Walsh Whiskey account for ‘the angels’ share’ with a customised ERP solution
Walsh Whiskey Distillery Company is a boutique whiskey distiller, dedicated to the production of premium handcrafted Irish whiskeys. Headquartered in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Co. Carlow, the company is the only independent distillery in the world to produce all three types of Irish whiskey – pot still, malt and grain – in one still house.
Opened in June 2016, Royal Oak, Walsh’s €25m distillery, produces the company’s two award winning, premium Irish whiskey brands – The Irishman and Writers’ Tears. With two production lines, the distillery has the capacity to produce eight million bottles of whiskey annually.
Whiskey production is an incredibly technical process, involving complex and enormous equipment; the largest of Walsh’s giant pot stills has a capacity of 15,000 litres and weighs between four and five tonnes. It also takes a significant amount of time to produce whiskey. In fact, one of Walsh’s most prized whiskeys, The Irishman 17 Year Old is, as the name suggests, aged for 17 years prior to bottling. Over this amount of time a certain amount of whiskey is lost from the casks through evaporation, and this quantity is known to whiskey distillers as ‘the angels’ share.’ Losing some of the product during the maturation process is just one of the things that make whiskey production a unique process.
As well as this, Walsh Whiskey has a multitude of departments that oversee different stages of the production and sales process. Having experienced significant growth in recent years, the company was looking for a scalable ERP solution that could unify these different departments and manage everything from ordering ingredients to bottling and stock taking.
Mary Hayden, financial controller, Walsh Whiskey, said: “With our old system our operations such as finance, sales, and bottling worked independently, and as a result we were spending a lot of time generating reports and sending them between departments. However, our recent growth phase had rendered this approach unsustainable, and so we were looking for a modern system that would handle the end-to-end process. We wanted to incorporate the accounting and production elements of the company, and, of course, we needed a solution that could account for ‘the angels’ share!’”
It was at this point that Walsh Whiskey approached Datapac, having been referred to the provider by another customer who had recently implemented their own ERP infrastructure. Datapac visited Walsh’s premises at Royal Oak, and took the time to understand the inherent complexities of the whiskey distillation process. This allowed Datapac to design a custom ERP system for Walsh Whiskey, based on Microsoft Dyanamics NAV. This solution integrates completely with Walsh’s operations, archiving all of the data from the various stages of the production process. Advanced security and access management functionality makes this data easily accessible to anyone who needs it, while ensuring that it can only be accessed by those with the correct credentials.
“What really impressed us about Datapac was their level of patience and understanding. They really took the time to understand the particular quirks of our business and come up with a solution that would work for everybody. The new system really is tailor-made for us and for our unique business needs,” commented Mary.
Crucial to making the most of the new system is having the correct training, and, as part of the installation, Datapac ensured that everyone was familiar with how to use Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
“Nothing was left untouched from a training perspective,” continued Mary. “Datapac’s team took their time to explain the various features of the new system to everyone, while also being very understanding of the fact that business has to go on, and remaining tolerant of interruptions like phones ringing and orders being made. They also understood that people learn in different ways and at different rates, and they made sure to account for that in their instruction.”
Datapac successfully moved all of Walsh Whiskey’s processes, including business operations from purchase and sales orders to financial services and even bottling and cask management, over to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. All systems are now unified and can be accessed as one. This gives Walsh’s team increased oversight of all operations, and provides significant time savings while improving efficiency.
The new platform has brought a range of benefits to Walsh Whiskey.
All data is now unified in one system, and order reports are now automatically generated. Compared to the old system, which required individual departments to contact one another to check the status of an order or production run, Microsoft Dynamics NAV has dramatically sped up all business processes, leading to increased efficiency and allowing employees to focus on their core tasks rather than generating reports.
As well as this, the simplicity and familiar layout of the system has meant that those who need to use it can quickly become proficient.
Mary said: “The integration of Microsoft Dynamics NAV with our existing software means that it’s really easy for our team to get the most of the system. The integration is so complete that there’s even an Excel tab, which makes it so convenient to quickly switch between programs.”
As Walsh Whiskey is continuing to target further growth, particularly in the Asian market, the company needed a platform that could grow with it. That’s exactly what Datapac delivered. The new ERP solution can accommodate the company’s growth, as they continue to pursue sales opportunities throughout China and India.
“It’s great to know that we have a completely scalable solution that will grow with us as we continue to develop over the coming years. The platform is so flexible that with a little customisation we estimate that it should be able to remain in place for the next ten years,” continued Mary.
Continued support from Datapac
“Following the installation process, Datapac provided really thorough training that ensured that everyone felt instantly at ease using the new system. What’s more, their helpful team provide ongoing support and advice, and are always happy to help with any questions or issues. I really enjoyed working with Datapac, both on a personal and professional level, and would definitely recommend them and Microsoft Dynamics NAV to any organisation,” said Mary.
Richard Murphy, head of business solutions division, Datapac, said: “Working with Walsh Whiskey on this project was a great experience. The company has undergone significant expansion over the past year, and their old processes were no longer sustainable. They needed a modern ERP solution that would unify their systems and streamline their work practices. Having assessed their needs we knew that Microsoft Dynamics NAV was the perfect fit.”
“With over three decades of experience and a highly accredited team of ERP consultants, Datapac is uniquely placed to provide Irish companies with customised solutions to help develop their businesses.”
“Walsh Whiskey now have a scalable ERP platform that can grow with its business, allowing it to tap into exciting new markets. And as it is so easy to use, the company is already reaping the rewards of this new system. We’re delighted that they’re seeing the benefits of the new platform, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to help them drive their business forward.”
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