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How Constellation Brands bottled a better ordering system on AWS

Situation

Building a state-of-the-art wholesale beverage-buying solution

Constellation Brands, a leading supplier of premium beer, wine and spirits, is known for embracing innovative ideas. So, when their distributors told them their ordering system was difficult to navigate, Constellation listened. For years, Constellation used an ordering system that required distributors to purchase wine and spirits by phone, fax or email. This made the ordering process hard to manage, left too much room for error and inconvenienced distributors who were accustomed to modern, easy-to-navigate software.

Constellation began to brew something better — a new, highly intuitive cloud-native ordering system, built on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The system required a significant transformation affecting everything from client interactions and the way staff worked to data analytics and back-end order processing. Constellation enlisted EagleDream Technologies, now part of the PwC network, to help design and build a customizable, scalable AWS-powered web portal using serverless technology.

Solution

Hello, instant ordering

PwC helped Constellation Brands design, architect and deploy a cloud-based application using a serverless container framework, AWS Fargate. The new web portal allows distributors to quickly order products in bulk, while making it easier for Constellation’s employees to process, track and deliver orders efficiently and on time.

Business

An easy-to-use system that is highly scalable

Constellation Brands’ transformation had several business objectives. First, creating an ordering system that could flex and scale based on shifting demands throughout the year. Second, integration into back-end systems to create automated data and analytics insights. Finally, the company needed a modern ordering solution that would be easier and more intuitive for its distributors to use. To meet these requirements, PwC built a system from scratch. We worked closely with Constellation to gain a deep understanding of its business, ultimately allowing us to build a custom and efficient ordering system that aligned to their needs.

Experience

Improving the distributor experience

Early in the process it became clear that distributor needs could be high-volume and complex. In fact, distributors regularly purchased enough product to fill a tractor-trailer from a single order. Thus, a simple-to-use interface with an easy ordering process was critical to success. So, Constellation Brands and PwC created a platform that allowed its customers to easily see all wine and spirit offerings in one place — and purchase products with a click of a button. It also included a GPS feature, introduced after launch, to help buyers view, in real-time, where their shipment is in transit and an estimate of when it will arrive.

To create this platform, PwC held several multi-week workshops to learn more about Constellation’s customers, the roles and responsibilities of its staff, the client journey and more. We also interviewed Constellation’s distributors to find out what they needed to do their jobs effectively. Once the system was developed, we had Constellation conduct in-depth usability testing to see how their distributors used the application. The company simultaneously improved the ordering experience for its staff by introducing automation to smooth the intake process. Instead of relying on employees to write down orders, the new system could feed purchasing information directly into its back-end systems. This helped significantly reduce the potential for human error and sped up the process significantly. In addition, by knowing who was placing an order, the system could offer client-specific pricing or purchasing solutions in real time.

Technology

Speed and reliability in a cloud-based environment

Constellation Brands came to PwC knowing it wanted to build a new solution on its existing AWS platform to easily scale capacity up or down to match demand. To build a new application cost-efficiently, quickly and with added security in mind, PwC used AWS Fargate, a serverless technology, along with AWS’ NoSQL data storage system Amazon DynamoDB. Working in a serverless environment using containerization technology enabled the application to run faster and more reliably while easily handling the increases in demand from seasonal orders. In addition, custom application programming interface (API) integrations were built so that the solution could communicate across various systems, including with the customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs and software. Its APIs also connect with a GPS company hired by Constellation to help track its deliveries.

Results

A boost in beverages — and satisfaction

On top of creating a custom-built, cloud-native architecture, PwC adapted to tight deadlines and worked in agile, two-week sprints for a rapid transformation that took just eight months to complete. To meet each milestone, PwC and Constellation Brands worked quickly to iterate on minimum viable products (MVPs) and implement UI/UX feedback. 

The new platform was an immediate hit. The distributors and staff appreciated the easy-to-use, intuitive system. Constellation’s new cloud-based application now helps save distributors hours of ordering time, and employees can focus on business-building work, rather than manual tasks. With the new system seamlessly connected to Constellation’s existing back-end systems, the company can gather more data and insights than ever before. And as demand scales up or down, so does the system, enabling easier, faster and more efficient order-taking. This has directly translated into better service and more product choice for individual beverage buyers.

96%

of orders came through the system by the end of the first month, totaling more than 504,000 cases of product

8

month implementation — about half the typical time for this type of build

90%+

average user satisfaction rates during usability testing

“By working with PwC and moving to an AWS environment, we’ve been able to truly transform our business and grow with confidence. The application is intuitive, sleek and easy to use.” 

Brad Clement
Director of Customer Resource Center and Logistics, Constellation Brands

“This new application saved Constellation Brands and its distributors significant time and effort. Constellation’s team can now focus on business priorities instead of manual tasks, which means they can continually improve and expand their operations.”

Bob Moore
Principal, PwC

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Contact us

Bob Moore

US AWS Alliance Leader, PwC US

Scott Weber

Director, Cloud Engineering and Security Hub, AWS APN Ambassador, PwC US

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