Supply chain advancements were already underway at craft coffee company Peet’s Coffee when COVID-19 changed everything. In the middle of an ERP/warehouse management system implementation, Peet's Coffee was now facing surging ecommerce and direct-to-store sales combined with implementing social distancing in their distribution center.
Eric Lauterbach, chief of operations and president at Peet’s Coffee, shares with Forbes.com contributor Steve Banker how Peet's embraced digital transformation to turn supply chain challenges into new opportunities.
Peet’s Coffee was going through a digital transformation when Covid-19 hit. Despite the significant amount of effort involved in going from running a business on Excel spreadsheets to implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP), they are very grateful that their efforts to improve their supply chain agility were underway when the pandemic hit.
Peet’s was implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management when the pandemic hit. The supply chain application included warehouse management capabilities. Their integration partner was Blue Horseshoe Solutions. Blue Horseshoe and Microsoft have a long-standing relationship when it comes to creating warehousing and transportation capabilities for Microsoft customers. Microsoft purchased Blue Horseshoe’s warehousing and transportation products in 2012. In 2019, Microsoft licensed additional advanced warehousing capabilities from Blue Horseshoe which have become part of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management module.
The digital transformation was critical in helping Peet’s cope with ecommerce orders that surged from 8,000 per week to 24,000 per week. Blue Horseshoe helped Peet’s layout the warehouse to better support ecommerce. “When they came in, they were candid with us. They told us there was a better way to do things,” Mr. Lauterbach admitted. Partly this involved consulting around the layout of the warehouse. Partly it involved adding new processes – things like slotting planning, efficient receiving and sorting for inbound operations, and put-to-wall picking – that were instantiated in the Dynamics 365 solution they implemented.
Mr. Lauterbach summed things up by saying, “We are at the one-year mark with the pandemic. It has been a heck of a year.” I’m pleased with the investments we made. I’m pleased with the Blue Horseshoe relationship. I’m glad it (the ERP project) is over. But I wish we had done it earlier.”
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