On the blogby Alfred
September 24 2019

For a profesionnal wine & spirits inventory management solution

by Guy Doucet

During the early development work at Intelligent Cellars, we questioned ourselves on the methods and techniques that could allow us to establish a reliable wine cellar inventory that could be kept up-to-date easily, for the wine enthusiast and the restaurant professional alike. I remember a discussion between my colleague and friend Éric Lalonde and myself where we listed the professional criteria and techniques required by our personnel, alongside the tools and data that had to be available to them, in order to offer a professional solution.

To bring you back in context, Éric has been a partner of mine since 1996 on different business and technical projects. Senior engineer and master of engineering, Éric is one of the leading asset management specialists in Canada. He is responsible for the mathematic models that support the optimal tasting range curves of wines in our business. He is also known as the inventor of the first integrated decision-making system known as the acronym SIAD that is now widely used.

With his expertise and his experience in establishing such systems, Éric has helped us understand that the precision of an inventory can only be attained by employing competent personnel and by a strong technological support. Contrary to popular belief, it was not essential for him to have a sommelier formation to carry out this work with a high level of quality.

I have had the opportunity to work with Richard Beaudoin, our director of inventory operations, for several years. Richard is a true man, honest, upright and extremely discreet. An autodidact that has developed, through the years, an expertise in a company located in Central Quebec for inventory management.

By precisely managing an inventory of metal in an ISO 9000 environment, he had developed methods that could be adapted to the domain we were trying to enter at the time. Like many men of his generation, including myself, Richard had quite a limited knowledge of the culture of wine. Nonetheless, his rigorous personality and his hidden “talent” of breaking every technological support that were put in his hands convinced me that he was the right person for this project.

In a little less than seven years, Richard has come up with methods and tools that respect his vision that a professional should spend his time taking care of his clients rather than managing his wine and spirits inventory. It is to him that all the credit of the research for the development of the Alfred datamatrix label goes to, a label that allows the client to add or remove bottles in a few seconds. This allows us to manage each bottle independently, for its location in the cellar and by tracking it with an impressive level of precision. Many advantages can be found in the use of this unique label: precisely locate a bottle within the cellar, associate a market value to the bottle, assign an optimal tasting range in regards to its format and finally to remove it from the inventory simply by scanning the bottle. Since the beginning of 2019, Richard is at the helm of a research and development project with the “Centre de transfert technologique C2T3” in Trois-Rivières to integrate a chip (RFID) to the Alfred label for the restaurant market.

Another element that can’t be neglected is the base structure of the cellar. Richard has incessantly repeated that it is important to structure its classification before beginning the stocktaking process. The structure is a digitalized matrix that is adapted to the cellar and that can also evolve throughout the years. If this operation requires quite a bit of effort in the beginning, the rewards are exponential when the collection evolves. It is extremely efficient in terms of time and money to adequately structure the wine cellar before opting for a digitalized inventory management solution.

After more than a million bottles labeled in four different countries, Richard has developed a unique expertise in the province of Quebec and impressive knowledge of the products. Even if he does not possess the knowledge of a sommelier, he is able to correctly identify the products and to correct any mistake that could be overlooked by technological tools that he uses. He has contributed to develop Alfred Pro, the inventory management solution of Intelligent Cellars, in what it has become today. By managing many professional wine cellars, he is also responsible for the training and the coaching of our employees and partners in all of Canada.

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