Cloudy With a Chance of Rain-Making

How cloud computing helps SMEs go global.

Chris-Coccio“The overall platform allowed them to grow and have the confidence to deal with the supply chain and all the concerns about going global,” says Brad Windecker, CEO of Orchestra, which hosts the brewery’s ERP system on the cloud for a monthly subscription fee. Some 35 people at Avery have access to the system. “Most of our customers don’t even know that SAP exists,” says Windecker. “SAP is just another part of the platform that creates a solution to the problem. If you’re less than a $1 billion-a-year company, it’s really difficult to deal directly with an IBM or SAP or Oracle.”

The ERP system helps Avery Brewing on multiple fronts, not just getting paid. International customers all have special requirements in terms of packaging and labeling. The company’s IT systems communicate that information seamlessly to the brewery’s production staff. Moreover, because it is exporting alcohol, it has to make specific reports to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau, which the system handles automatically.

Even though Avery is based in the Rocky Mountains, its supply chain is surprisingly international and the Orchestra system helps with that as well. Some of its raw materials, such as specialty malts, come from French-speaking parts of Canada or from Germany. Some packaging materials also come from abroad, as does some of the hardware that Avery uses, such as a canning line. “The procurement of those [items] comes straight out of [the] ERP system,” Henton explains. The system handles sometimes-tricky issues, such as currency differences. Henton can select what currency to display on an invoice and be sure that it is accurate in U.S. dollars. He is beginning to explore SAP’s Ariba cloud-based business-to- business network, because he thinks it will give Avery a competitive advantage in sourcing internationally at better prices—all of which is a huge change from how a smallish company would have operated just a few years ago.

Go With Your Gut
Sono-Tek, the New York-based maker of ultrasonic spray nozzles, is a classic, niche-manufacturer and exporter. It knows how to coat things in a unique, environmentally friendly way, which is valuable to the consumer electronics, energy, medical-device, glass, textile and food industries. It can, for example, provide a precise coating for heart stents and catheters. CEO Coccio, who, like Helton, is a veteran of a much larger company, namely GE, arrived in 2001 when Sono-Tek was a purely North American company, about a quarter of its current size and selling primarily to the electronics industry.

“Our conscious strategy was to diversify in two dimensions,” Coccio explains. “First, we went into new product areas, such as medical devices and glass applications, then into advanced energy, such as solar and fuel cells. The other dimension of expansion was going from a North American company to being an international one. We started to ‘colonize’ Europe, Japan and parts of Africa.”


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.