When Ohio-based Bent Tree Coffee Roasters got started in 2011, their vision was to create a wholesale coffee company that would provide fresh, quality beans to local eateries. But when an unexpected opportunity arose for a retail presence, they jumped at the chance and decided to open up shop in Kent.
Bent Tree’s co-owner Ryan Brannon was tasked with the challenge of juggling a two-sided business that demanded rapid turnover, detailed management, and fresh inventory on a daily basis.
As the business grew, Brannon realized that order management was getting out of hand fast. He knew he needed a solution, but wanted one tailored for coffee companies.
“I just thought to myself, ‘I can't be the first coffee roaster to experience this problem,’” explains Brannon. “There's got to be a program out there to organize orders and help coffee roasters make sure they don’t miss anything.”
A quick Google search helped Brannon land on RoasterTools–an order management and sales platform designed specifically for coffee roasters. RoasterTools promised to help roasters like Brannon eliminate complexity from order management and make room to grow.
So, Brannon took the leap and began using RoasterTools.
In the following case study, we’ll take a look at how RoasterTools helped Brannon tackle his problems, create an easy, effective system for order management, and most importantly, achieve reliability and peace of mind in his business.
The Challenges: Keeping up with Growth & Staying Organized
In 2017, Bent Tree found itself facing a double-edged sword. New customers were coming in, revenue was growing, and word was getting out. The problem with all of that? Keeping up with growth on a logistical and administrative level.
“Life was a little hectic and disorganized,” explains Brannon. “Especially as we got more accounts on the wholesale side of business.”
Their current system for managing new orders relied on a clipboard full of half-sheets of paper, with customer data logged by hand.
“The clipboard would get thicker and thicker, and so then you'd be flipping through the pages, trying to remember each individual customer,” says Brannon. “There wasn't much accountability, and there wasn't a good system for making sure that anything got done.
This system was only complicated by the fact that running a retail-wholesale business meant that walk-in customers would frequently place wholesale-style orders.
“I would get some guy from the golf course down the street wanting a cup of coffee, and then throw in an order for a 5 lb bag of beans at the same time,” says Brannon. “It made order management feel super rushed.”
Finally, a disorganized paper system was increasing the likelihood of human error.
“Mistakes were happening. The person writing down the order would miss details or miss writing down an order completely,” says Brannon. “The result was that sometimes, customers weren’t getting what they asked for.”
The bottom line? Bent Tree Coffee was scaling...but they didn’t have a system to help them keep up with growth and remain organized and efficient.
The Solution: RoasterTools
As Brannon explains, their paper system “wasn’t that bad” in the beginning; after all, they only had a handful of customers. But when Bent Tree Coffee began to scale, Brannon decided to look for a solution–and found RoasterTools.
Easy Order Input
RoasterTools provides a simple, convenient order management system to help Brannon receive wholesale orders, manage production, and make sure those orders are delivered in a timely fashion.
“Anybody can input an order to the system,” says Brannon. “No phone calls necessary.”
This marked a time-saving and error-reducing shift from using the paper system, which required a verbal transfer of info when an order was placed at the retail shop. When a customer wants to place an order, retail employees are able to quickly and easily input the order without picking up the phone and stopping workflow.
“They don't have to stop what they're doing and call us,” explains Brannon. Not only does this save time and inconvenience; it reduces the likelihood of mistakes made when recording an order on paper by word-of-mouth.
Plus, RoasterTools’ order system includes a Notes feature that further reduces the likelihood of error.
“The notes are great,” says Brannon. “For example, an order might specify ‘Please ship to home address.’ This is super important for coffee roasters, as some customers might have detailed order specifications that would otherwise get lost.” The result? Miscommunicated orders and unhappy customers.
Next, RoasterTools helped Bent Tree avoid “order overload” that was preventing them from staying on top of the ball.
“RoasterTools has helped us to make realistic daily production runs that are based on the orders that are already in the system,” says Brannon. “It’s easy to figure out how much coffee to roast.”
Integration with ShipStation
Finally, RoasterTools helps Bent Coffee’s team easily manage shipping–especially critical during COVID-era retail–by automating the production of shipping labels.
“We love that it sends the labels over to ShipStation,” says Brannon. “The pandemic has caused us to FedEx a dramatically larger amount of our orders than before.”
Ultimately, RoasterTools has helped Brannon create an easy, convenient system for order management–and so much more.
The Results: Peace of Mind, Reliability & a Higher Quality Product
RoasterTools helped Brannon tackle his original challenge of creating a coffee-specific order management system to help achieve new growth.
But the benefits it ultimately delivered have gone beyond simple management.
“RoasterTools gives me total peace of mind,” says Brannon. “I feel completely comfortable knowing that everything can be communicated clearly to everyone involved in the process and that everything can be done in a timely fashion.”
Next, RoasterTools has helped Bent Tree set a realistic pace for production.
“Life was disorganized and things felt rushed,” explains Brannon. “RoasterTools gives us the chance to slow things down to a good pace.”
Not only does this save on stress and chaos; it also helps set realistic expectations for customers. By providing the team at Bent Tree with clear, organized data on orders, RoasterTools empowers employees to communicate well with customers.
“The way the system is set up, it helps roasters to encourage their customers to be patient,” says Brannon. “The system makes it easy to explain our scheduling to people.”
The ultimate result of organized scheduling? Fewer errors….and a better product.
“More mistakes were made when things were rushed. But when you take your time and you follow proper steps and procedures, fewer mistakes are made and customers are happier.”
He continues, “You can deliver a better product when timelines are realistic.”
Most importantly, RoasterTools helps Bent Tree deliver better quality coffee.
“We roast to order, just like most small-batch coffee roasters. We try to sell very freshly roasted beans,” says Brannon. “RoasterTools is a framework that helps us to do that.”
Reduce Stress & Make Room to Grow with RoasterTools
RoasterTools is a streamlined order portal system that can help your roastery stay on top of production, save on time, increase efficiency, and deliver an overall better customer experience. If you’d like to see how RoasterTools might help your business scale and succeed, click below to start your free 30-day trial.