Stella & Chewy’s is a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of premium, all-natural pet food. The company uses organic meats and vegetables to create healthy frozen and freeze-dried meals for dogs and cats. Among the company’s innovations are a patent it holds in food safety and a pet food facility that boasts standards to rival even the best of human food manufacturers.
Since its launch in 2003, Stella & Chewy’s has quickly grown from a small operation to a large manufacturer with a significant national reach. The company has experienced phenomenal and rapid growth at a rate of 50% year over year. As a consequence, managing its processes via Excel sheets had quickly become inadequate and would no longer support the company’s tremendous growth, meet its emerging needs, and ensure compliance in a dynamic regulatory environment. Stella & Chewy’s reached out to Wipfli for an ERP solution.
Bringing its experience in helping manufacturers to improve their systems, Wipfli evaluated Stella & Chewy’s needs and proposed the Microsoft Dynamics® AX solution. Wipfli then set out to complement the manufacturer’s rapid timeline with an extraordinarily speedy implementation—an aggressive 5-6 month timeline was established instead of the typical 9-12 months. To help accomplish this, Wipfli assembled a dedicated team from both sides of the relationship. The combined Wipfli and client team worked collaboratively to complete the discovery process and perform the business analysis, design, and implementation process.
The result is a fully integrated process, from purchase orders to an accurate status of inventory. It gives Stella & Chewy’s a real-time view of production and allows for better/more efficient scheduling. It also creates a strong audit trail for financials and for validating compliance requirements. In addition, the solution is scalable, giving the client flexibility to add more resources and quality control functions in the future as needed.
The days of walking down the hallway to confer with colleagues over questionable and outdated Excel sheets are over for Stella & Chewy’s. Now the company has an integrated, accurate, and collaborative solution that has greatly improved the efficiency of its manufacturing processes. In addition, Stella & Chewy’s realized immediate rewards thanks to an aggressive implementation timeline that supported its rapid growth and quickly demonstrated a return on the investment. They now keep a more accurate handle on materials and inventory via timely lot and batch tracking. They also have greater visibility into overall product information, which helps the company maintain regulatory compliance and fulfill good manufacturing practices.
Equally beneficial was the experience of building a solution in a collaborative environment. Stella & Chewy’s viewed Wipfli as a valued partner in its success, not as a vendor.