Peace Coffee Case Study

Peace Coffee is an organic fair trade coffee roaster, committed to offering fair prices to coffee farmers. What was once part of a non-profit dedicated to farmers is now a strong e-commerce business. With growth projected to continue, Peace Coffee looked for software solutions that would scale with their business. First adopting NetSuite, the management at Peace Coffee then looked for a WMS to provide functionality necessary for a food production company, including lot traceability.

“As a certified organic coffee producer, we have complex processes and so looked for a WMS that could fulfill those,” said Jon Katzung, Director of Operations, Maintenance and Distribution. Peace Coffee needed a WMS solution to help bring inventory accuracy and efficiency.

“Our previous WMS solution should have worked seamlessly with NetSuite, but it didn’t. When we realized its limitations, we were too far into the project,” said Brenda Schulze, Controller. “That initial WMS was very clunky, hard to integrate to NetSuite and had poor customer service.” Despite the team’s hesitations, they implemented the initial WMS solution.
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The functionality limitations of the initial WMS required Peace Coffee’s team to find workarounds. Decimal quantities were not precise between NetSuite and the WMS, which caused problems within their inventory. The WMS solution forced customers to use a wave release system for sales orders, which did not align with Peace Coffee operations and created errors in fulfillment. “It was a very rigid system, making things needlessly complicated,” said Sara Lidstrom, Demand and Supply Manager. Cycle counting functionality did not operate accurately, creating inventory mistakes. Once it was apparent the current WMS would require additional staff to manage the forced complications and workarounds, the Peace Coffee team decided to pursue another solution.

Robust RF-SMART Functionality

After meeting with RF-SMART at SuiteWorld, Peace Coffee made the decision to replace their clunky WMS with RF-SMART. “RF-SMART ticked a lot of boxes; it is intuitive, there is real-time integration to NetSuite and the screens look like it’s part of NetSuite, so we knew it’d be easy to use,” said Sara. “RF-SMART provides the visibility needed for lot tracking,” Jon added. Because RF-SMART is scalable, Peace Coffee felt confident that RF-SMART would be able to keep up with their increasing eCommerce sales.

Peace Coffee uses RF-SMART functionality for bin counts and transfers, purchase order receiving, sales order picking and transfer order picking and receiving. “The RF-SMART screens are so much easier to view,” said Jon. Sales order picking multiple allows for easy and accurate fulfillment of small online orders.

The RF-SMART Inventory Reporting Tool allows the team at Peace Coffee to trouble shoot any inventory problems. “Occasionally, we have inventory stuck in picked bins. By checking the Inventory Reporting Tool, we’re able to quickly resolve that,” said Jon. Sara and Joel Lueders, Inventory Specialist, use the Inventory Reporting Tool every week. Using lot numbers and bin locations, they can see every movement – from picking to putaway to bin transfers. “Transaction history and item look up are so useful; we use these to resolve inventory discrepancies prior to counts, allowing us to count better. Our counts are now reliable and trustworthy,” said Sara. Sara and Joel are able to find any negative bin numbers or location bin differences and resolve those prior to completing the count.

Whereas Peace Coffee did not trust the cycle counting functionality of their previous solution, they are using RF-SMART cycle count functionality monthly. Sara can prepare cycle count plans and bin counting groups. “RF-SMART cycle counts work really well and have been a huge value-add,” said Sara.

Bold Benefits

Peace Coffee is gaining efficiencies using RF-SMART. Picking is much faster, as RF-SMART prompts pickers in bin order sequence. The addition of barcodes to the finished roasted coffee products has enhanced picking efficiency and accuracy. “Using RF-SMART to scan lot numbers saves time and increases picking accuracy,” said Sara.

Bin replenishments are saving Joel’s team’s labor time. Previously using manual processes to manage replenishments, Joel relies on RF-SMART to alert him to bins with low inventory. This allows him to replenish bins without interrupting picking and packing orders. “We were running out of inventory several times a week previously. Now, it’s rare. I trust RF-SMART bin replenishment to eliminate stock outs,” said Joel.

Packing and shipping are also faster using RF-SMART. “RF-SMART is faster and more reliable than our previous solution,” said Silvester Guadiana, Roastery Warehouse Supervisor. With the increase in web orders, Peace Coffee is shipping more orders than ever before. “We would not have been able to handle the increase without RF-SMART,” said Silvester.

RF-SMART Perks: Implementation, Training, Support

Implementation with RF-SMART was easier than with their previous WMS. “It was great working with the RF-SMART team. They were very logical and thoughtful,” said Brenda. “They were very knowledgeable and used that knowledge to steer us in the right directions,” said Sara. RF-SMART team members were forthright when unable able to answer questions. That transparency built confidence between the Peace Coffee and RF-SMART teams, something Peace Coffee did not have with their previous vendor.

Training has also been a positive experience. A few members from Peace Coffee learned to use the software, then were able to train their end-users. “RF-SMART is straight-forward and easy to use,” said Joel. This differed from their previous solution, where there was a lack of consistency across the meaning of keys and functions, making training a lengthy and complex process. It was not the case with RF-SMART. “RF-SMART is intuitive, only requiring a few training sessions. Our staff adopted it quickly,” said Silvester.

All aspects of RF-SMART Support are a positive experience for Peace Coffee. Employees often take advantage of the customer training opportunities RF-SMART offers. Any support tickets are responded to in a timely manner by the RF-SMART Support team. “With everything RF-SMART has to offer – from software to support – we are so glad we made the switch,” said Brenda. “We highly recommend RF-SMART!”

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“RF-SMART ticked a lot of boxes; it is intuitive, there is real-time integration to NetSuite and the screens look like it’s part of NetSuite.”

Read how RF-SMART grew Peace Coffee's inventory accuracy and efficiency with bin sequencing, lot traceability and cycle counts.

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