Whole and Free Foods, the Chicago-based manufacturer of healthy snacks Every Body Eat®, is achieving healthy growth using a manufacturing resource planning program to reduce waste and improve production processes.
Small business on the road to success
Whole & Free Foods LLC – Every Body Eat® is a Chicago-based company of allergen-free and gluten-free snack foods. Every Body Eat first launched in early 2020 with snacks and has continued to innovate with its crunchy bread. Every Body Eat also plans to continue its innovations with the release of cookies and crackers by 2023.
Today, the company employs 7 administrative staff and 20 production members across two shifts that make delicious snack foods that are free of the 14 most important allergens (wheat/gluten, milk/dairy products, soybeans, peanuts, Nuts, sesame, eggs, mustard, celery, lupine, sulfites, fish, shellfish, mollusks) And corn, which no other company can currently boast of. With a third of American households allergic to it, this leaves whole and free foods with plenty of wiggle room in their niche. Recently, a selection of their Every Body Eat® line became available at Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market stores across the country.
Use software to achieve traceability
The innovative spirit of the company is also transmitted to the way the business is run. Like many startups, Whole & Free Foods initially used traditional spreadsheets to collect and aggregate business data, but quickly realized that Excel wouldn’t provide them with the traceability required in the food industry. That is why they have chosen the modern MRP (Manufacturing Resource Planning) system which supports quota tracking.
“As a startup, Whole & Free Foods should be able to pick things up quickly,” says Chris Foss, CFO. “That’s why, apart from the functionality required, we needed software that was easy to use.”
Although business management software has usually been too expensive and complicated for small manufacturers, modern cloud-based and subscription-based solutions have turned the tide in favor of the small. Of the dozens of systems available, Whole and Free Foods shortlisted three — Katana, Fishbowl, and MRPeasy — with the latter finally coming to the fore.
“MRPeasy was chosen based on its price point as well as overall ease of use compared to other systems,” says Chris. “Of course, it fits all of our other criteria as well – like local integration with QuickBooks, for example.”
Employees eager to get rid of spreadsheets
According to Fuoss, a manufacturing resource planning system helps a company highlight waste week after week and allows it to address any red flags that appear before they become problems.
“We are still fine-tuning our production processes. We measure efficiency in yield per batch, as well as peak production volumes,” he says, adding that the software also helped with data entry.
Voss says the software’s simplicity combined with its extensive library of online resources led to the decision to implement the system independently, a process that took about six weeks. Execution began in sales and moved through the company’s fulfillment, production, and leadership teams, seeing heavy user adoption at WFF as employees are keen to leave spreadsheets behind.
As a final note, Vos says, “It is essential to have the team’s support from the top down and to involve the entire team in the system review process.”
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