When a family-run ice cream company based in the Pacific Northwest was purchased by a private equity company, they brought in a new leadership team to help transform the organization. The leadership began the process of re-developing all of their internal strategies in order to accelerate growth and improve profitability. Surprisingly, problems began to uncover as the difficulties of manufacturing and transporting ice cream started to overflow.
Many family-run businesses find difficulty in managing systems, processes, and costs when they experience significant growth. For example, their customer service department was responsible for managing the supply chain, which made processes more difficult than they needed to be. Their problems ranged from material flow issues to temperature-control issues with their shipping providers. When we visited them in the Pacific Northwest, we found a way to improve these issues and more.
In our diagnosis, we found they faced issues finding quality LTL carriers who specialize in frozen products. Not only is it is very tough to find quality LTL frozen carriers in the marketplace, but many of them are also inefficient at temperature control, which is crucial for the customer’s products.
Their warehouse operations included an off-site frozen storage facility operated by a third-party, as well as their own facilities adjacent to their plant. Their own facilities, however, were in need of a better warehouse management system and locator system. Utilizing a FIFO (First In, First Out) process for their product, we witnessed the challenge of process improvement firsthand. Lastly, the cost of transportation was rapidly growing. Their goal (and ours) was to improve costs, processes, and efficiency.