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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Employee Training Strategy for Craft Brewery in North America


There are countless scenarios that require Employee Training. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Employee Training to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. Let us analyze the following scenario.

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Consider this scenario: A prominent craft brewery in North America, recognized for its innovative and diverse beer offerings, is facing challenges with employee training that are impacting its growth and product consistency.

The brewery has experienced a 20% increase in production errors and a 15% decrease in employee retention over the last year, highlighting the critical need for an enhanced training program. Externally, the brewery is facing increased competition from new entrants and changing consumer preferences towards sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. The primary strategic objective of the organization is to standardize production processes and improve product quality through a comprehensive employee training program, while also adapting to market trends to sustain its competitive edge.



This craft brewery has reached a pivotal moment where addressing internal inefficiencies and aligning with evolving market demands are crucial for continued success. A closer examination reveals that the core issues may stem from inadequate employee training programs that fail to keep pace with the brewery's growth and technological advancements in brewing processes. Additionally, an underestimation of the impact of market trends on consumer preferences is evident, suggesting a need for strategic alignment with sustainability and local sourcing.

Competitive Market Analysis

The craft beer industry is witnessing significant growth, characterized by an increasing number of breweries and a strong demand for diverse and high-quality beer. However, this growth brings intense competition and changing consumer expectations, especially concerning sustainability and innovation.

Understanding the competitive landscape reveals:

  • Internal Rivalry: High, driven by the proliferation of craft breweries and the limited market share available in regional markets.
  • Supplier Power: Moderate, with a growing trend towards locally sourced ingredients giving some suppliers a competitive edge.
  • Buyer Power: High, as consumers have a wide range of choices and are increasingly looking for unique, sustainable products.
  • Threat of New Entrants: High, due to the relatively low barriers to entry in the craft brewing industry.
  • Threat of Substitutes: Moderate, with increasing interest in non-alcoholic beverages and craft spirits as alternatives.

Emerging trends include a shift towards sustainable brewing practices and the use of local ingredients, which opens new opportunities but also presents risks related to supply chain reliability and cost management. Major changes in industry dynamics include:

  • Increased consumer interest in sustainability: Opportunity to differentiate through eco-friendly practices but risk of higher operational costs.
  • Growing demand for innovative beer flavors: Opportunity to capture market share through creativity but risk of diluting brand identity.
  • Technological advancements in brewing and packaging: Opportunity to improve efficiency and product quality but requires significant investment.

A PEST analysis indicates that regulatory changes around environmental sustainability, shifts in consumer social attitudes towards alcohol consumption, and technological innovations are key external factors impacting the craft brewing industry.

Learn more about Supply Chain Cost Management PEST

For effective implementation, take a look at these Employee Training best practices:

Workforce Planning - Implementation Toolkit (Excel workbook and supporting ZIP)
TWI Program: Job Instruction (JI) Training (131-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting ZIP)
Training Needs Analysis (TNA) (72-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting Word)
TWI Program: Job Relations (JR) Training (70-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting ZIP)
Code of Conduct Training (25-slide PowerPoint deck)
View additional Employee Training best practices

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Internal Assessment

The brewery boasts a strong reputation for creativity and quality but struggles with inconsistent production processes and high employee turnover. Its internal capabilities are being undermined by a lack of formalized training and development programs for its staff.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths include a loyal customer base and a strong brand in the craft beer community. Opportunities lie in expanding the brewery's sustainability initiatives and leveraging technology for production efficiencies. Weaknesses are identified in employee skill gaps and inconsistent product quality. Threats stem from intense competition and changing consumer preferences.

Core Competencies Analysis

Core competencies lie in product innovation and brand loyalty. However, to maintain a competitive edge, the brewery must develop competencies in employee training and sustainability practices, addressing current weaknesses and aligning with consumer trends.

Value Chain Analysis

Analysis of the value chain highlights inefficiencies in operations, particularly in production and quality control. Streamlining these areas through employee training and technological investment can drive significant improvements in cost management and product consistency.

Learn more about Employee Training Value Chain Quality Control

Strategic Initiatives

  • Comprehensive Employee Training Program: Implement a structured training program focusing on brewing processes, quality control, and sustainability practices to enhance product consistency and employee retention. This initiative aims to reduce production errors by 30% within the first year, creating value through improved efficiency and product quality. Resource requirements include the development of training materials and investment in training facilitators.
  • Sustainability and Local Sourcing Initiative: Develop partnerships with local suppliers and invest in sustainable brewing technologies. The intended impact is to align with consumer preferences for sustainability, potentially increasing market share and brand loyalty. The source of value creation lies in differentiating the brand in a competitive market. This will require resources for supplier relationship management and sustainable technology investments.
  • Technological Advancement in Brewing Processes: Adopt advanced brewing and packaging technologies to improve efficiency and product quality. This initiative aims to position the brewery as a leader in innovation, attracting new customers and reducing costs. The source of value comes from operational efficiencies and market differentiation, requiring investment in technology and training for employees on new systems.

Learn more about Value Creation Employee Retention Supplier Relationship Management

Employee Training Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.
     – Pearson's Law

  • Employee Retention Rate: An increase in retention will indicate the success of the training program in engaging and developing employees.
  • Production Error Rate: A decrease in errors will reflect improved production processes and employee proficiency.
  • Market Share Growth: Expansion in market share will demonstrate successful alignment with consumer preferences and effective brand differentiation.

These KPIs will provide insights into the effectiveness of the strategic initiatives, highlighting areas of success and opportunities for further improvement. Monitoring these metrics closely will ensure the brewery remains aligned with its strategic objectives and adapts to changing market conditions.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

Employee Training Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Employee Training. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Employee Training subject matter experts.

Employee Training Deliverables

These are a selection of deliverables across all the strategic initiatives.

  • Employee Training Program Framework (PPT)
  • Sustainability Initiative Report (PPT)
  • Technology Implementation Roadmap (PPT)
  • Market Share Analysis Template (Excel)
  • Production Efficiency Financial Model (Excel)

Explore more Employee Training deliverables

Comprehensive Employee Training Program

The craft brewery strategically employed the Kirkpatrick Model to evaluate the effectiveness of its new employee training program. The Kirkpatrick Model, a widely recognized method for assessing training outcomes, proved invaluable for this initiative. It facilitated a structured evaluation of the training's impact, from participant reaction to the ultimate change in business results. The brewery's implementation process included:

  • Conducting pre- and post-training surveys to gauge employee reactions and learning outcomes.
  • Assessing changes in employee behavior on the job and the effect on production quality and efficiency.
  • Measuring the impact on business outcomes, specifically production error rates and employee retention.

The deployment of the Kirkpatrick Model revealed significant improvements across all levels of assessment. Employee satisfaction with the training program increased, leading to enhanced job performance and a notable reduction in production errors. Furthermore, the brewery experienced a positive shift in employee retention rates, affirming the program's success and its alignment with strategic objectives.

Sustainability and Local Sourcing Initiative

For the Sustainability and Local Sourcing Initiative, the brewery applied the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework to ensure a balanced approach to economic, social, and environmental objectives. The TBL framework, which emphasizes the importance of not just profit, but also people and the planet, was instrumental in guiding the brewery's strategic decisions. By adopting this framework, the brewery aimed to enhance its sustainability credentials while maintaining profitability. The implementation steps included:

  • Engaging with local suppliers to assess their sustainability practices and aligning them with the brewery's standards.
  • Conducting a comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of brewing operations and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Implementing community engagement programs to bolster the brewery's social sustainability efforts.

The application of the TBL framework enabled the brewery to forge stronger relationships with local suppliers, reduce its environmental footprint, and increase community support. These efforts not only improved the brewery's sustainability profile but also resonated positively with consumers, contributing to an uplift in brand loyalty and market share.

Technological Advancement in Brewing Processes

In addressing the need for technological advancement in brewing processes, the brewery utilized the Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theory to facilitate the adoption of new technologies. The DOI theory, which explains how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread, was crucial for ensuring smooth implementation and acceptance among staff. By understanding the factors influencing technology adoption, the brewery was able to design a rollout strategy that minimized resistance and maximized effectiveness. The process included:

  • Identifying and engaging with early adopters within the organization to champion the new technologies.
  • Organizing hands-on workshops and demonstrations to showcase the benefits and ease of use of the new systems.
  • Monitoring adoption rates and gathering feedback for continuous improvement.

The successful implementation of the DOI theory led to widespread acceptance and effective use of the new brewing and packaging technologies. This initiative not only enhanced operational efficiency and product quality but also positioned the brewery as an industry innovator, attracting new customers and further solidifying its market presence.

Learn more about Continuous Improvement

Additional Resources Relevant to Employee Training

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Implemented a comprehensive employee training program, resulting in a 25% reduction in production errors and a 15% increase in employee retention.
  • Launched a Sustainability and Local Sourcing Initiative, achieving a 10% increase in market share and improved brand loyalty through enhanced sustainability credentials.
  • Adopted advanced brewing and packaging technologies, leading to a 20% improvement in operational efficiency and product quality.
  • Forged stronger relationships with local suppliers, reducing the environmental footprint and increasing community support.
  • Utilized the Kirkpatrick Model to evaluate training effectiveness, revealing significant improvements in employee satisfaction and job performance.
  • Applied the Triple Bottom Line framework to balance economic, social, and environmental objectives, resonating positively with consumers.
  • Employed the Diffusion of Innovations theory for smooth technology adoption, enhancing the brewery's industry innovation position.

The strategic initiatives undertaken by the craft brewery have yielded notable successes, particularly in reducing production errors, improving employee retention, and enhancing operational efficiency. The comprehensive employee training program directly addressed the critical issues of product inconsistency and high turnover, demonstrating the value of investing in employee development. The Sustainability and Local Sourcing Initiative not only aligned with consumer preferences for eco-friendly practices but also contributed to a stronger market position. Technological advancements in brewing processes have set the brewery apart as an industry innovator, further solidifying its competitive edge.

However, the results were not without their shortcomings. While the initiatives led to improvements in several key areas, the 10% increase in market share, although significant, suggests there is room for greater impact, especially in a highly competitive market. The reliance on local suppliers, while beneficial for sustainability and community support, poses risks related to supply chain reliability and cost management. Additionally, the adoption of new technologies, despite being successful, required substantial investment and may have diverted resources from other potential growth areas.

Alternative strategies could include diversifying supplier relationships to mitigate supply chain risks, exploring additional revenue streams such as craft beer tourism or limited edition brews, and increasing focus on digital marketing to further enhance brand loyalty and market share. Investing in consumer analytics could also provide deeper insights into changing preferences, enabling more targeted product development and marketing strategies.

For next steps, it is recommended to conduct a comprehensive review of the supply chain to identify and mitigate potential risks associated with local sourcing. Expanding the marketing strategy to include digital and experiential elements could further increase brand visibility and engagement. Additionally, continuous investment in employee training and development, with a focus on leadership and innovation, will ensure the brewery remains adaptable and competitive in a rapidly evolving market. Finally, exploring strategic partnerships or collaborations could open new avenues for growth and innovation.

Source: Employee Training Strategy for Craft Brewery in North America, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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