Organic Valley Milks Higher Earnings, Improves Operations

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There is nothing quite as sour as spoiled milk.

Figurative speech aside, the bread and butter of dairy purveyor Organic Valley is its ability to expedite orders of perishables in an accurate and timely fashion.

By using Sage SalesLogix, the Wisconsin cooperative has improved the distribution of its organic products, ranging from milk to soy products, yogurt, eggs, and produce.

"This…company [has] grown by leaps and bounds, experiencing twenty to twenty-five percent growth a year," says David Whited-Ford, IT special projects manager for Organic Valley. "There's lots of information in spreadsheets and lots and lots of different databases. With SalesLogix, we [could have] one database that would house a lot of information [that many employees] need access to."

In 2011, the company saw sales of $715 million (compared to $620 million in 2010) and produced more than 200 individual varieties of products under the Organic Valley label, according to Tonya Payne, sales support manager.

Payne notes that Organic Valley's back-end functions have wholly improved through its use of SalesLogix, which impacted its customer-facing operations and, ultimately, revenue.

"When you talk about overall efficiencies—moving from Excel and Access databases to a secure system where we can pull so many reports and data from—it has just increased our efficiency immensely," Payne explains.

Payne's sales support team regularly interacts with retailers, securing product placements in-store and managing product launches.

SalesLogix has "knocked down silos so that people aren't running their day-to-day work in their Outlook inbox or their archives," Whited-Ford says, adding that "it's there in the system so anybody who needs it can use it."

By implementing a SalesLogix ticket management system, the company was able to centralize information to eliminate redundancies that occurred when PDF files of orders were passed between sales and fulfillment operations.

Last year, 2,882 orders were successfully circulated between sales, fulfillment groups, and the warehouse by using tickets to manage internal product orders.

The team also used Z-Firm's ShipRush add-on to get UPS tracking details, charges, and other information right into SalesLogix, so, as Payne puts it, salespeople are "not chasing around for tracking numbers."

"I started working with [IT] on really expanding how we were using SalesLogix," Payne says. "I can even do timecard and time-off requests for my team as tickets, which saves me a lot of time."

Organic Valley plans to extend its use of the software to implement a tracking system for its network of 400-plus broker contacts, which will save the company an estimated 300 hours per year in data entry.

At the company's inception in 1988, there were eight farmers in the cooperative. Today, there are 1,658 in 35 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces, according to Payne. The cooperative added 212 new farms last year.

The flexibility of the SalesLogix product has helped simplify Organic Valley's ability to bring new product to market, Payne touts. But more importantly, it's helped the enterprise maintain its stride on the back end in fulfillments.

After all, when you're dealing with a product with limited shelf life, Payne says, "you can't let it get stuck in a UPS facility for a weekend."

The Payoff

Since implementing Sage SalesLogix, Organic Valley's inside sales team has:

  • experienced a year-over-year increase of 49 percent in support requests;
  • noticed a year-over-year increase of 36 percent in product orders;
  • been able to handle an uptick in orders and requests with only a 13 percent labor increase; and
  • saved approximately $10,000 per year in data entry.

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