Following a strategic move from the company’s native Hawaii to a new HQ and production facility in Phoenix, AZ, the business started to flourish…and fast! Within three years, sales had gone through the roof, as discerning customers around the country continue to discover mochi magic, and the main challenge for Bubbies was keeping up with demand.
Preparing for growth
Growing an ice cream business from Hawaii was always a challenge, so in 2017 the leadership team decided to relocate to the mainland. The move signalled the start of a new era for the company.
Demand was outpacing production capacity, putting Bubbies’ planning functions under ever-increasing pressure. Bubbies’ CEO, Jeff Stites, who joined the company in 2019, explains, “We were thrilled to be growing at such a rapid pace. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the production planning or capacity to successfully execute the increase in demand. In fact, our planning only looked a week ahead, when in reality, we needed to be more proactive and plan months, if not a year ahead.”
Jeff was initially brought in as interim COO and was determined to make changes with the help of his team. The company had taken on some new and exciting major accounts, which required more streamlined communication and integrated processes between the sales and production functions.
The pressure was growing, and the business urgently needed a scalable solution to keep up with demand. The production and sales teams had to quickly get together with leadership to organize and streamline the process while maximizing the company’s limited capacity.
A need for real change – but first, a quick fix
To buy some much needed time, the team put a stopgap solution in place – simple spreadsheets with historical demand and rough growth assumptions. The priority was to keep the production lines running at full capacity, so the production planning manager stuck to the forecast and ignored all the noise.
While the spreadsheets stabilized the situation, they didn’t solve the fundamental problem – the disconnect between sales needs and production output. Later that year, the Production Planning Manager, VP of Operations, and Procurement Manager came together to find a solution.
Optimity – an easy choice
Bubbies was looking for a cloud-based planning solution to integrate with their existing Microsoft Great Plains ERP system. The company doesn’t have any on-premise servers and wanted to keep it that way.
The team evaluated and researched several vendors, but once they’d seen Optimity, it was an easy decision as all of the planning functionally was there. The business also needed a solution that would get them up and running quickly.
Optimity delivered – it took the team four to five months to go live. As a supply chain expert, Jeff had been through several planning system rollouts before joining Bubbies. “In the past, I dealt with a similar implementation in an environment like Bubbies. We had 15 people assigned to that project and ended up with a $1M implementation bill. The Optimity rollout was much quicker and a lot less expensive than if we’d gone with an ERP-based solution or any of the larger supply chain planning vendors. Best of all, we ended up with a much better solution,” he says.