Transformed Constellation Brands’ order system into a cloud-native solution
Amazon Web Services
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.
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.
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, integrating 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.
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, which meant that buyers could see the location of their shipment in real time, and have an estimated delivery date.
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.
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. The APIs also connect with a GPS company hired by Constellation to help track its deliveries.
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 user interface (UI) and user experience (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, meaning that employees can focus on business-building work instead of 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.
of orders came through the system by the end of the first month, totaling more than 504,000 cases of product
months to implement the transformation – about half the typical time for this type of build
average user satisfaction rates during usability testing
Director of Customer Resource Center and Logistics, Constellation Brands
Principal & AWS Practice Leader, PwC US
Director, Cloud & Digital, AWS APN Ambassador, PwC US