Mann Lake Case Study

As the industry leaders in beekeeping and backyard hobby farming, Mann Lake’s supply chain is the heartbeat of their business. With 1,300 orders a day in peak season, they rely on RF-SMART to navigate high-order volumes and ensure efficient warehouse output. 

In their 40 years of business, Mann Lake has grown from two locations to seven across multiple states. Shana Rowlette, Mann Lake Chief Financial Officer, was confident NetSuite could help them meet their scaling business needs. “As our company grows, we are making a strong investment in our information technology,” said Shana. After a failed implementation of a different warehousing solution, they decided to look for a more robust system to meet their complex requirements. “We wanted to choose a system that will grow with us, not limit us,” Shana said. This was the mindset that led them to select RF-SMART for NetSuite for their warehouse management system.


Keeping Inventory Accuracy 

Before implementing NetSuite and RF-SMART, Mann Lake’s team was counting product manually, using pen and paper for all inventory tracking. This required workers to check off inventory on a paper pick ticket, then give that pick ticket to the office team to input into their system of record. With this method, there was never a true, real-time view of what product they had on hand. To alleviate this pain point, they utilized two workers to count and check inventory full-time, increasing their labor costs. All these issues were solved through RF-SMART’s scanning-led receiving and picking. “I don’t think we were even hitting 50% accuracy pre-RF-SMART. Now, we are sitting closer to 90%. That is a huge improvement,” said Shana. 

In addition, before RF-SMART, Mann Lake was having a hard time maintaining visibility into product location. “Even if we knew where the inventory was, we had 600 of one item split between six physical bin locations - we couldn’t track how many were in each bin,” said Shana. This cost the workers time and energy trying to locate all the product spread throughout different bins in the warehouse. “You had to walk around trying to navigate where the product for the order was. That was super time consuming.” RF-SMART scanning allows all data to be input into NetSuite in real-time, creating a clear picture of the inventory and its physical location.

Counting Made Easy 

With all inventory being scanned into NetSuite, Mann Lake can take advantage of RF-SMART Counting. Before RF-SMART, Mann Lake’s inventory was being tracked with Item Fulfillments. Every time a count took place, the warehouse worker would have to navigate back and forth between the office and the warehouse floor to see what Item Fulfillments had been processed that day. “We used to physically shut down our warehouse for 3-4 days a year just to complete a full physical inventory count,” said Shana. With RF-SMART Stock Count Hybrid, this is a now a non-issue. 

RF-SMART’s Stock Count Hybrid function allows warehouse workers to count any specific bin, aisle, or location with their handheld. This can be completed during production and requires minimal planning on the warehouse manager’s part. This allowed the Mann Lake team to count throughout the day and avoid relying on one annual physical count. “We can now decide to count a specific aisle or bin in the warehouse. It’s given us overall counting improvements,” said Shana.

Labor Tracking & Visibility 

The Mann Lake team also found increased productivity with the help of RF-SMART. From picking to packing, they were looking for heightened visibility and metrics to lean on as they set worker goals. With RF-SMART’s handheld-driven functions, the team is now able to see a wide variety of metrics on each worker, including average picking and packing times, how many line items are being picked within a certain time, and more. 

Increased visibility allowed Shana to have a baseline that helps her team plan expected efficiencies. “I can now get into the details to see our productivity averages. This allows us to set expectations on how many lines should be picked each day. Now, we can plan how much time it’s going to take to get needed results,” said Shana. This has also helped their team project how many orders they can expect to pick in a given time range, improving their ability to forecast and predict productivity output.

Supported Solution

Aside from the functional advantages of the software, the Mann Lake team found a trusted partner in RF-SMART. From the first conversation, the RF-SMART team presented Mann Lake with feedback to improve their warehouse practices. “Our RF-SMART implementation team did a really good job of challenging us to reconsider our processes and employ best practices. They made us think outside of the box, which was a needed change,” said Shana. This type of consultative implementation helped the Mann Lake team lay the foundation for a well-run warehouse and prepared them for future optimizations. 

Since Mann Lake product is distributed between seven different locations, they decided to train various on-site personnel as RF-SMART Super Users to support the larger team. Each of these employees was able to review and study RF-SMART’s implementation training resources and regularly met to discuss common challenges and solutions. They have continued to lean on RF-SMART’s people and resources to navigate any warehouse challenges. “When we do run into problems, we get a working session 
with the support team and find a solution,” said Shana.

The Mann Lake team also utilizes the RF-SMART Knowledge Base to tackle challenges in the software. “Our team can more often than not find their own answers in the Knowledge Base. We search things ourselves and find solutions - that’s really helpful,” said Shana.

Scaling with Manufacturing 

Mann Lake has also found success with RF-SMART’s scanning-led manufacturing process. They are currently using work orders to pull inventory and stage it in their production before reporting progress back to NetSuite. This has been monumentally beneficial for their production process. “We have production running 24/7. Before RF-SMART, we would have six weekend shifts worth of production to enter into the system on Monday morning. We were never fully accurate because of this,” said Shana. With RF-SMART’s real-time data transmission to NetSuite, warehouse staff communicate directly back to the ERP. “Now, my production managers can look in the system over the weekend and feel confident in the data they see.” 

One of the challenges they now face is organizing customizable inventory into appropriate production locations. Leaning on RF-SMART's warehousing experts, the team plans to reorganize the flow of inventory to create a clear system of rules for warehouse workers to use when slotting product. The Mann Lake team is looking forward to continuing to grow their manufacturing capabilities with RF-SMART. 

“We got to where we are by providing a good customer experience and having the best quality product, much like RF-SMART,” said Shana. “It’s been a good partnership, and we are looking forward to the continued partnership in the future.”

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“We got to where we are by providing a good customer experience and having the best quality product, much like RF-SMART. It’s been a good partnership, and we are looking forward to the continued partnership in the future.”

Read how RF-SMART was able to increase labor productivity, improve accuracy, and scale manufacturing for Mann Lake.

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Download the Mann Lake Case Study