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graeters ice cream

Graeter’s Ice Cream Automates 100% of Orders with Custom Functionality


About Graeter's

Graeter’s is a family-owned craft ice cream maker headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. From humble beginnings selling out of pushcarts and horse-drawn wagons, Graeter’s has grown into a regional powerhouse with over 50 retail locations in five states. Their pints of Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, Salted Caramel, and many other delicious flavors can be found in thousands of grocery stores around the U.S.

For more than a century, Graeter’s has produced its products using an artisanal French Pot process that yields just 2.5 gallons per batch. A commitment to this handcrafted method and customer satisfaction means one thing - they refuse to sacrifice quality in the name of profit.

Graeter’s has received significant acclaim over many years from prestigious industry publications, Hollywood superstars, and foodies galore. Their reputation for making great ice cream has been further boosted by creative marketing and a rich social media presence.



graeters 2Image credit: Graeter's

The Situation

Graeter’s had shipped its products to individuals for years and eventually began offering them online. Unlike many retailers selling through multiple sales channels, Graeter's preferred to limit eCommerce to its Magento site. By 2017, they were selling more than a quarter-million pints annually.

Dramatic sales growth revealed significant problems, however. The Graeter’s team was still handling multi-warehouse order management on a SaaS platform with limited capabilities. Combined with a range of manual fulfillment processes, this system was unable to meet the needs of an escalating eCommerce business.

Over time, formerly manageable operational issues had developed into overwhelming ice cream headaches.

  • Lack of information flow between warehouses caused inventory data to be scattered across, and siloed within, different systems.
  • Without a dedicated order management system (OMS), an individual sales order's status and life cycle could not be viewed from start to finish. Tracking orders was extremely difficult.
  • Getting products to the correct warehouses and maintaining inventory levels was a constant challenge.
  • Software inflexibility created problems in routing orders to the right locations.
  • Packing decisions regarding dry ice quantities were made manually.
  • Labeling requirements had to be met on a shipment-by-shipment basis.
  • Graeter’s was unable to assign users specific roles/permissions and create proper workflows. 

For any eCommerce business, the combination of disrupted data flow, inventory hiccups, packing issues, and diminished warehouse control is a major problem. For an ice cream maker, it can become a meltdown - during order processing, on a delivery truck, or all over a customer’s doorstep. 

Graeter’s assessed the situation and determined that it had to: 

  • Establish a comprehensive, real-time system of record for managing receiving, inventory, order routing, fulfillment (pick & pack), and shipping.
  • Build a full integration with their eCommerce platform and improve efficiency throughout the entire order management process.
  • Automate packing directions to eliminate human error and standardize amounts of dry ice needed based on order size.
  • Fix issues with routing orders between the three locations, getting products to the proper warehouses, and keeping them in stock.
  • Reduce manual processes, designate specific roles for user types, and create custom workflows across the organization's different departments. 
  • Create a fully functional, integrated system to be tested and ready for the 2017 holiday season.

The Solution

  • SkuNexus started a discovery process to create a customized system that would address all current needs and allow for future flexibility.
  • A comprehensive approach was taken to provide management control for every segment of the Graeter’s backend.
  • The goal was to integrate the new system seamlessly with the existing Magento eCommerce platform, without disrupting day-to-day operations.
  • Strict protocols for both dry ice amounts and extensive shipping label information per order type were developed.
  • Specific employee roles were assigned and custom workflows were developed, from receiving to shipping.

Initial Results

  • SkuNexus built, tested, integrated, and implemented a full suite of management systems throughout Spring/Summer 2017.
  • The SkuNexus platform serves as the system of record and is the trusted data source for all of Graeter’s eCommerce operations.
  • Order routing problems and unscheduled stock-outs have been corrected.
  • Accurate, real-time inventory is reflected across all operations.
  • Automation and organization of warehouse management and order fulfillment processes have drastically reduced errors.
  • Multiple SkuNexus Shipping Option Mappers have eliminated manual decision-making in packing and ensure adherence to stringent air shipping requirements.
  • Packers automatically receive the exact dry ice amount needed for every order. 
  • Customized shipping labels include all necessary information and certification stickers - IATA, dry ice weight, perishable item date.
  • Shipping method decisions (Next Day Air, 1 or 2-day ground) are automated.

"The increase in processing speed on importing orders into SkuNexus and generating UPS labels has been critical. Plus, with the SkuNexus software being so user-friendly, our employees can easily problem solve themselves. I no longer have to start my mornings going through orders."
- Jaclyn von Stein, Graeter's Director of eCommerce and Technology

Ongoing Customizations & More Benefits

Our 2017 collaboration was a successful one, and over the past five years, Greater’s has thought of several highly specific functions to both enhance fulfillment operations and help exceed customer expectations. To achieve these goals, the SkuNexus team has been able to tweak the software as needed. 

This implementation of new features is part of the long-term roadmap SkuNexus develops for all clients, and the results have been remarkable.

  • Graeter's can now rotate inventory locations and warehouse configuration on a monthly basis to fully leverage existing space. SkuNexus directed putaway and pick lists mean that employees are always up-to-date.
  • Graeter's utilizes wave picking via SkuNexus automated group pick lists. This ensures like items with similar shipping requirements are picked together for efficiency and strict adherence to schedule.
  • To enhance the customer experience during unboxing, Graeter’s customized its shipping labels to include personalized gift cards.
  • Better accuracy was achieved by incorporating the pick list, gift card, and shipping label into one. 
  • Disaster response has been facilitated through a unique bulk reship function in the event of severe weather or carrier issues.
  • Greater’s reports that support issues are handled very quickly and usually resolved within an hour.

"I love being able to customize so many aspects of the software to our exact needs."

- Jaclyn von Stein, Graeter's Director of eCommerce and Technology

Our Partnership & The Future

Graeter’s and SkuNexus have a deep history and we have been honored to partner with a company that shares the same values of honesty, quality, and integrity.

Looking ahead, the future is bright, and Graeter’s is opening a new fulfillment center built around SkuNexus. This will allow them to efficiently manage eCommerce ice cream sales which have grown more than 100% since 2017, from 270,000 to a sustained level above 550,000 pints/year.

Graeter’s Ice Cream Automates 100% of Orders with Custom Functionality
“SkuNexus took our processes to the next level! Using its automations for shipping and fulfillment, we have seen massive improvement in our order handling and fulfillment. We're looking forward to even more improvements this year!”
Jaclyn von Stein, Director of eCommerce and Technology, Graeters Ice Cream

Jaclyn von Stein
Director of eCommerce and Technology, Graeter's Ice Cream

This could be you.

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