In an interview, Nedelcho Stoyanov, Senior IT Business Partner at Kamenitza AD, and Alexander Yovchev, CEO & Founder at Plan A, share more about the innovative software solution that Plan A developed for the beer company.


What was the business problem and how was the external partner selected?

Nedelcho Stoyanov: As an FMCG company, we deal with a vast amount of unstructured data every day. It's critical for us to have the right tools to turn this data into actionable insights. Today, there are various applications and tools available to support such a demand. However, in our constant strive for improvement, we wanted to be one step ahead of the game and create something tangible, long-term, and sustainable. We organized a tender where we invited Plan A as one of the companies to participate. They proposed a long-term working solution and that's why we chose them as our external partner to help us create BeerStream, a cloud-native platform that provides real-time data visualization for our sales and performance stats.

Before we started the project, we identified a lack of real-time data about our daily sales and the need for an integrated and interactive service to improve the process of receiving and dealing with this information.

With BeerStream, we have a comprehensive web-based solution that connects sales data from the market and our customers with our brewery and sales teams. The platform shows sell-out data in real-time, providing meaningful information to our operational management teams, so they can make informed business decisions.

What is BeerStream and how does it work?

Nedelcho Stoyanov: BeerStream is a comprehensive web-based solution that connects sales data from the market and our customers with our brewery and sales teams. The platform shows sell-out data (what the distributors we work with sell to the stores) in real-time. The platform is online and can be accessed from any device and location. It is an interactive tool that turns data and numbers into meaningful information, based on which our teams can make informed and well-thought-out decisions.

Currently, Kamenitza AD is the only country in the CEE Region from the group of Molson Coors Beverage Company to have such kind of a solution. We are proud of the achievements in this area in the last 3 years.

Can you share what benefits such a solution could bring to the business?

Nedelcho Stoyanov: Since we started working with BeerStream, we have seen significant benefits to our business in terms of visibility. BeerStream shows sell-out sales data in real-time, feeding our forecast for production, and helping improve forecast accuracy. The solution has helped us improve our forecast accuracy with nearly two-digit growth. The service also supports the reporting process by feeding data into Power BI and provides full visibility of the daily sales.

Using BeerStream, we've improved greatly the tracking of our investments in the market. This allowed us to identify and evaluate our profitable partners and further grow our business with them in a more sustainable way. The service provides our teams with an interactive, real-time instrument to manage our business efficiently, optimizing costs and time for dealing with various paper-based, separate documents.

As a cloud-native solution deployed on Kubernetes, BeerStream enables us to handle unstructured data with virtually no downtime when updates are deployed. We're proud of our achievements in this area over the last three years.


How is BeerStream affecting the businesses of your customers and distributors?

Nedelcho Stoyanov: At Kamenitza AD, we believe in growing our business by helping our partners grow as well. BeerStream is exactly such a solution, improving business relations with our customers and distributors. With BeerStream, we're one step ahead of the game in creating tangible, long-term, and sustainable solutions for our business.

BeerStream is an interactive, real-time instrument, with which our customers can better manage their whole business more efficiently, optimizing costs and time for dealing with various paper-based or separate online documents. BeerStream helps our customers have full visibility of their sales at any moment. It supports their volume increase, better management of sales, and up-to-date tracking of performance. The solution provides automation of receiving orders and sending data.


What were the main challenges in the development of the solution?

Alexander Yovchev: BeerStream is a complex enterprise solution, and its purpose is to provide maximum flexibility, accuracy, and reporting capabilities to both Kamenitza operation teams and its customers. With that come several important challenges:

Different data sources - BeerStream is currently handling the data of over 200 different distributors, working with more than 35 different software solutions. The application must support these different channels, formats, and specifics for importing data to fulfill the business needs of different end-client application exporting processes.
Huge amount of data – daily, the application receives millions of rows of data stored in a relational database with real-time access and analytical instruments attached to it.
Complex business logic – the process of importing, storing, and analyzing data needs multiple complex operations beforehand. These include – verification, calculations, business process alignment, and analytical functions.
High availability – the application’s cloud-based infrastructure is designed to have several key capabilities: high availability, auto-scaling, and self-healing, to name a few.
Heavy analytical calculating operations – We have developed multiple reporting and analytical functions that are proceeding data from the real-time database. In addition to that, the application is seamlessly integrated with Azure Power BI instruments to take full advantage of its extended capabilities.
Multitenant architecture application – The software is designed with the concept of multitenant data streams to allow its horizontal distribution over multiple countries of operation. The data, users, and clients could work on the same instance in different locations/countries/companies in the Molson Coors Group.

How did this project affect Plan A’s evolution as a software development company?

Alexander Yovchev: Our collaboration with Kamenitza on the BeerStream project has had an immense impact on the strategic direction of our company. Through my personal involvement in the day-to-day activities in the beginning and my oversight ever since, as well as my partner Vesselin’s (CTO of Plan A) continuous efforts towards productivity and process improvement, the extensive analysis and the different challenges that we faced, we developed a strong understanding of this business domain, we grew our expertise in the .NET technology and we formalized many internal processes related to project management, performance management, quality assurance, etc. Most importantly this project paved the way for our current industry specialization.

The logistics/warehousing industry is one of those industries where digitalization is still mostly upcoming, and this first project opened our eyes to the endless opportunities in front of us. Having worked on several international projects in this domain since, gives us a competitive advantage in the field, compared to other IT service providers in the Bulgarian market.


What are the next steps for this fruitful partnership?

Alexander Yovchev: Beer Stream was just the beginning of our relationship with Kamenitza, the successful implementation of the project led us to investigate other areas where we can support the company on the path to digitalization, and we have fulfilled 3 other projects since, while continuing to expand the functionalities of the existing ones. We have established a roadmap for the upcoming year and are proud to say that we have taken this relationship from a simple client-to-service-provider dynamic to a real, sustainable partnership.

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