Alcohol distributor

Case Study: Family-Owned Alcohol Distributor

The Client

This alcohol distributor has been open, operated and locally-owned for almost a century, making it one of its state’s oldest continuously-running alcohol distributors. To say it has built up a tradition of quality is an understatement. “We’re committed to providing our customers and suppliers with the best service possible,” says the CEO. 

But the distributor is also committed to embracing innovation and staying on top of the latest advancements in technology. Of the 6,000+ active products the distributor carries, more than half of them aren’t even ten years old. Every year, the distributor introduces about 500 new products to its lineup, meaning its retailers always get new and exciting products on the shelves. 

“It’s important to us to pay attention to industry and consumer trends, and make sure our customers can get it easily. We’re constantly looking for new products and listening to what people want to drink,” its CEO says. 

Because it carries such a huge variety of beer, wine and spirits, getting product delivered to the 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility hasn’t always been easy. 

Historically, the distributor has relied on a wide mix of transportation services to get goods to its wholesale house from separate consolidators on either coast. 

“We’ve been a family-owned business for generations, and building lasting relationships is a cornerstone of how we do business. We had been using the same east coast consolidator for more than ten years,” says its CEO. 

Opportunity for Improvement

The distributor’s CEO and the rest of its team found that, despite its long-standing relationships, there was a lack of good, honest, person-to-person communication with its consolidation partners, especially on the west coast. 

“It took an average of 4-5 weeks to get our west coast orders delivered,” the client’s Purchasing Manager said. “We were used to that, and figured the challenge of getting cases picked up and delivered in a timely manner was just the way things went … for a while. But then we started running into more and more late shipments, less and less communication, fewer answered phone calls … it just didn’t seem right.” 

Solution Design

Agforce first reached out to the distributor in 2015. “We weren’t quite ready to make a switch then,” the Purchasing Manager said, “but we liked Brett and his team immediately. We remembered him.” Then in 2018, the distributor started getting serious about the possibility of changing consolidators. “Brett had been diligent in keeping in touch with us and learning how our business ran. He really cared about what was working (and what wasn’t) with our transportation providers.” 

Eventually, the client’s relationship with its west coast transportation partner was strained enough that it decided to give Agforce a few trial runs, just to see how it went. And it went amazingly well. 

“We were shocked at how quickly Agforce, in partnership with Fastbreak, was able to turn around our orders via rail and road,” the CEO said. He turned over his entire west coast business to Agforce.

“After successfully switching over our west coast business, I started noticing how much the east coast business was lagging behind what we were getting from Agforce. We’d thought the east coast was our quick partner before Agforce!” 

So, of course, the distributor gave Agforce some trial loads of its east coast business. And of course, it liked what it saw. 

Today’s Processes

As of 2019, the distributor handles both its east and west coast consolidation business through Agforce.

“Our west coast consolidation turnaround has gone from a 4-6 week minimum to a 3-4 week average, with zero dip in quality, better service and a reduction in cost,” says the Purchasing Manager. “Our east coast pickup rates haven’t changed, but occur much more reliably.” 

The reduced cost and improved delivery time are one thing, but the client might appreciate the quality of its relationship with Agforce above all else. “Brett, Chris and Joe lead an efficient, professional Agforce teams that we really love partnering with,” says its CEO. “There’s been nothing short of excellent communication between Agforce and our office.”

“I trust this team to handle our business honestly and fairly,” he continued, “and now I’m looking for new ways to use Agforce in other aspects of our business. That’s how well they continue to meet and exceed my expectations every day.” 

Looking for a little more fairness, honesty and speed in your logistics? Let’s chat! Transportation doesn’t have to be a burden, and it isn’t when you partner with Agforce. Give us a call at 877.367.2324 or email us at inquiry@agforcets.com.