AWS Smart Business Blog

Gaining Deeper Insights into Manufacturing and Sales with Cloud Technology

For small and medium businesses (SMBs) with a strong sense of tradition, it can be difficult to navigate modern-day challenges like inflation and supply chain disruption. Birra Menabrea is an Italian brewing firm that was founded over 175 years ago and now produces nearly 6.6 million gallons of beer annually, roughly 20 percent of which is exported. Our Amazon Web Services team worked with Birra Menabrea to gain insights into internal processes and prepare the company for the future. We discussed this transformation with the firm’s Director of Operations, Venanzio Thedy, and Gabriele Mittica, co-founder of Corley, an AWS Partner Network consulting firm.

Navigating modern-day market challenges and creating opportunities as an SMB

As Italy’s oldest working brewery, Birra Menabrea manages its own manufacturing, packaging, and distribution. While carrying on established traditions is central to its operations, the company also has to navigate today’s increasingly digitized world as well as broader economic challenges like inflation and supply-chain disruptions. “Our main challenge was to continue to ensure the growth of our business and its margins by offering the best product quality and optimal customer service,” explained Thedy.

When Birra Menabrea decided to migrate its internal technology operations to the cloud, it engaged AWS to help achieve this transformation. The partnership began by developing a technology security plan but quickly expanded as the opportunities of the cloud became apparent. “The support of AWS allowed us to open new paths—first of all, consolidating and strengthening our cybersecurity. In addition to this, we identified partners through AWS and started developing a series of projects, which has allowed us to continue the digital transformation of Birra Menabrea,” Thedy said.

Finding the right technology partner to generate insights and optimize processes for an SMB

 It was through the AWS Partner Network that Birra Menabrea engaged Corley, an Italian firm that provides consulting and services to companies undertaking a cloud transformation. For SMBs with no in-house IT staff or limited support, working with a tech partner trained on AWS can help make projects faster, more strategic, and efficient. Read how another SMB customer worked with a tech partner and completed their migration project in months, not years.

As a first step, Corley set about identifying the best solutions for digitizing Birra Menabrea’s production plants and connecting their operations to the cloud. “In practice, this means connecting the services AWS offers with the components of the production line, which, by nature, are typically offline,” Mittica explained. “Connecting a production line to the cloud enables predictive maintenance, data collection, data analysis, and data integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning mechanisms.”

With the Manufacturing Execution System successfully implemented, Corley and Birra Menabrea decided to further harness the potential of the cloud by initiating projects to monitor energy consumption and automate administration. They worked together to implement Amazon Monitron, which uses sensors and machine learning to detect abnormal conditions in industrial equipment and predict when maintenance will be required. The end result was a system where data could be collected and analyzed in real-time, producing metrics by which Birra Menabrea can measure performance. “We were able to connect in real time something that, by nature, was difficult to bring into the cloud ecosystem—every component of the production line, piece by piece, is now connected with AWS,” Mittica said.

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Uncovering the cloud transformation cost savings

Now, like many SMBs that choose to take advantage of the cloud, Birra Menabrea is able to enjoy short-term cost benefits. “We have estimated a payback of only six months and a savings of 42 percent,” Thedy said. “We can already see that we have had a big return on our investment.” Thanks to these returns, Birra Menabrea can serve its customers both better and faster.

According to Thedy, the chief advantage of working with AWS has been the availability of skills and technologies that have proven vital in Birra Menabrea’s digital transformation. AWS has also brought significant value by guiding the company through the process of identifying the right partner to begin developing new projects with—small initiatives at first to gain experience, followed by increasingly ambitious ones.

“AWS definitely helped us become a company that is able to respond in a faster, more agile way to the new challenges and needs of the market, which are becoming more and more complex.”

Next steps

Using cloud services and the AWS Partner Network, Birra Menabrea has been able to gain insight into its operations and innovate its business while staying true to tradition. If you’re ready to start your digital transformation project, contact us now to chat through your needs. You can also explore ways you can modernize your business by finding SMB-specific tech partner offers on AWS Smart Business.