Bulk wholesale orders are a revenue driver for coffee roasters. Yet, managing these orders each week can be chaotic — especially if you don’t have defined processes in place.
Orders can “go missing.” Invoices fail to be sent. The wrong coffees are roasted. It’s all bound to happen if you don’t have a predetermined system.
The trick to managing wholesale coffee orders is to document and execute streamlined processes from roasting to fulfillment and beyond.
Although this system will look different for every roaster, the concepts are all the same. It all starts by following this six-step process.
Make it easy for your customers to place an order! The easier it is to order, the more they’ll order too.
If wholesale clients have to jump through hoops to place an order, imagine how complicated it will be for you to fulfill their order. Make it easy for both of you and determine how you want customers to place an order.
A few options include:
No matter which route you choose, define a method for ordering and stick to it! Ask customers to adhere to this process to keep everything organized.
Quick Tip: Also identify who is responsible for managing the orders as they come in. This individual must then have access to your wholesale email address and/or online ordering system and develop a strong relationship with each wholesale client.
A handwritten scribble of an order taken from a phone call…. So much room for error here (Date? Ground? Who wrote this? and don’t lose the note!)
After a wholesale order is placed, how does the rest of your team know about the order?
Is it written down on a sticky note and placed on a communal bulletin board? Or, maybe you’re relying on spreadsheets to organize your wholesale orders for each week, month, and quarter. Some roasters use a large whiteboard to visually schedule out upcoming wholesale orders and roasts.
Your wholesale process needs a place where all orders can be seen. This can be a software platform, a whiteboard, a clipboard, or a spreadsheet. The medium is your choice, so long as members of your team have access.
However, certain organization methods are better than others. Relying on sticky notes on a bulletin board, for example, can lead to misplaced orders when you or an employee move orders around. On the other hand, spreadsheet systems can quickly become overwhelming and data can accidentally be lost or deleted.
We’re big fans of using software to manage your wholesale coffee orders. Having one central location for your wholesale orders, such as an online platform, ensures that order information is:
Plus, most wholesale software systems come with a multitude of features designed to help you streamline your business processes!
Your wholesale ordering process needs to define concrete payment terms and processes.
It seems like a no-brainer (after all, who doesn’t want to get paid?) but several wholesale coffee roasters fail to get this part right.
Not determining payment processes leads to cash flow chaos. Why? Because you end up with several different accounts paying by different means at different times. Next thing you know, trying to track invoices and payments becomes an absolute nightmare. (We’ve even seen accounts with over $100,000 in past due accounts receivables!)
Instead, define how customers should pay and keep this consistent across your accounts. Remember, just like ordering, it needs to be easy for customers to pay!
As with all things in business, there may come a time when you need to bend the rules. For instance, large retailers have specific processes for handling orders and payments to vendors, such as wholesale coffee roasters. If you want to land the account, you’ll need to adhere to these processes, which may or may not align with your existing system.
If you allow customers to randomly submit bulk orders throughout the week, there will be no rhyme or reason to your roasting schedule—leading to additional labor, overhead, and inventory expenses. This is why committing to a defined wholesale ordering schedule is necessary.
There are two common approaches to ordering schedules:
If customers miss their respective deadline, you can choose to kindly remind them. Or, you can institute a late order policy.
Some roasters opt to add a late fee while others prefer to schedule late orders to the following week’s production and delivery/shipping processes. No matter the late policy you create, make sure it is clearly communicated to customers.
Once an order is placed on time and paid for (or invoiced), it’s time to get to work. For most roasters, the fulfillment process goes like so:
On paper, this looks pretty easy to accomplish. All you have to do is roast and package the coffee… right?
But once you start the process, it becomes very apparent how many roasting and fulfillment inefficiencies happen along the way. These inefficiencies can derail your entire wholesale operation if not addressed!
Documenting each step in the fulfillment process ensures that your roastery operates efficiently, precisely, and with wholesale growth in mind. As you go through this experience, you’ll likely find other inefficiencies or redundancies along the way. Tackle those obstacles right away!
Be sure to include the following information in your process documentation:
Let’s be honest. Managing wholesale orders is a hassle, especially as your business grows!
And with everything else you’ve got going on at your business, the last thing you want to deal with is an order mistake or worse—the dreaded forgotten order.
Spreadsheets, texts, phone calls, and in-person team communication works at a small scale. But once you start roasting and selling a significant volume of bulk coffee, wholesale order management becomes quite complicated.
You need the right tools on your side to make sure that your entire wholesale ordering process is streamlined, efficient, and accurate.
👉RoasterTools makes it easy to sell wholesale products online, manage green coffee inventory, schedule production processes, and get bulk orders out the door—on time and correctly.
We built RoasterTools to help growing coffee roasters manage their wholesale orders. Remember, we were in your shoes too! When we owned the roastery, we made plenty of mistakes while growing our wholesale program. It’s our goal to make sure you don’t make those mistakes too, starting with your ordering process.
When you’re ready to ditch the spreadsheets and never-ending order emails, sign up for a RoasterTools demo and streamline your wholesale processes today.