Which Beer Company Has the Best Supply Chain?



Recently I was speaking in Chicago on supply chain excellence when I was approached by Boston Beer. The team was fascinated by the orbit charts and the Supply Chain Index and wanted to know how they stacked up, and which beer company has the best supply chain performance.

In our committment to help companies with supply chain financlal benchmarking, we agreed to do the analysis in return for sharing the data. Here we share the analysis.

About Boston Beer

The Boston Beer Company brews more than 60 styles of Samuel Adams beer, relentlessly pursuing the development of new styles and the perfection of classic beers. The Samuel Adams portfolio of beers includes the flagship Boston Lager, seasonal brews, Brewmaster styles and the Barrel Room Collection. The Company has also pioneered the “extreme beer” movement, challenging drinkers' perceptions of what beer can be with brews such as Millennium, Triple Bock, Samuel Adams Utopias, and Infinium. 

Performance and Improvement

In Figure 1 it is clear that Boston Beer is driving improvement. The orbit chart at the intersection of operating margin and inventory turns shows a pattern of improvement since 2008. However, the question is "Is the company outperforming competition?"

Figure 1. Boston Beer Company Orbit Chart - 2006-2015 

To answer this question, we have to look at performance and improvement together. We do this in Table 1.

Table 1. Comparison of Beer Companies Based on Performance and Improvement

In this analysis we can see that Boston Beer is outperforming on the metrics of operating margin, inventory turns and Return on Invested Capital and underperforming on growth and Price to Tanglible Book Value. There is no beer company that meets the criteria of outperforming on the Supply Chain Metrics That Matter (operating margin, inventory turns, Return on Invested Capital and Growth) while driving value and supply chain improvement. Overall, Boston Beer rates in the top two with Inbev.

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