Chaz Flexman has launched at least 50 different products in his career. When he saw a rise in digital grocery services, he knew he could capitalize on the shift in the market. He launched Starday Foods, a next-generation food conglomerate making food that consumers want to be eating.
As an experienced ecommerce entrepreneur, Chaz knew he needed a fulfillment partner who could support retail, direct-to-consumer (DTC), and marketplace fulfillment, but who would also have the flexibility to work with him as order volume scaled up quickly when he secured retail contracts.
Starday Leverages Flexible Fulfillment Solutions to Launch New Products Quickly
With the rise in digital grocery platforms, Chaz realized he could determine what type of products were in demand and then launch and scale them up much quicker.
“I saw that companies selling on digital grocery outlets can get up to a level of scale with much more capital efficiency and operational efficiency than the traditional approach of getting into regional specialty stores and then scaling into big box grocery stores,” says Chaz.
The only rub here was he didn’t know what products he would be launching in the future, so he needed a fulfillment partner with the flexibility to fulfill into any channel with accuracy, speed, and expertise.
“What DCL excels at is flexibility. There are plenty of situations where a 3PL is in the exception management business. You want to do the same thing every time, but exceptions to the rule happen often, because that’s the world of physical products. Many people don’t understand the different processes that are put in place to help with the different levels of scale. There are things that come up, it’s not all a black and white situation. I think a big part of the partnership is being able to tackle things together.”
There are a lot of 3PLs that are either really good at B2B shipments, or really good at DTC. But there are not many that can do both well like DCL does.
Technology is Imperative for an Omnichannel CPG Brand
It’s not simple to execute quality fulfillment for all channels. There’s a lot that goes into the back-end operations. For retail there are EDI integrations to manage. For marketplaces, like Amazon, rules are often strict and can change based on the popularity of your products.
“There are a lot of 3PLs that are either really good at B2B shipments, or really good at DTC. But there are not many that can do both well.” Chaz continues, “Because we sell direct-to-consumer, and we sell on all online marketplaces, and we scale very quickly into big box retail, we need someone who can support all three channels.”
DCL provides comprehensive technology support that helps manage the many moving parts of omnichannel fulfillment. From order and inventory support to returns management, DCL’s proprietary software (eFactory) allows brands to see every detail of their fulfillment at a moment’s notice.
Chaz says, “DCL has internal software and systems that make everything a lot easier because they make a whole range of tasks less manual. When I was evaluating providers, four or five years ago, that kind of software really set them apart.”
Flexibility is the Key Ingredient to Retail Scalability
For many food brands, the big box retail contracts are the ultimate goal because it’s where you can increase revenue more easily. Chaz is a veteran at getting his products into retail outlets, but that doesn’t change how complex it can be operationally.
For a startup, getting into retailers often means your order volume will increase by a huge amount overnight. To manage such a quick order volume increase, a 3PL must have the flexibility to shift into higher throughput without sacrificing accuracy or quality. This requires increasing labor, adding more pack stations and fulfillment lines, plus procuring the materials to package the product.
Chaz explains, “You might have small volume in one month. But once you start any of these big retail contracts, suddenly, you ship triple the number of units in a month. And it happens overnight. DCL has the flexibility and expertise to scale up and down with that kind of demand.”
Every retailer has its own set of rules and requirements. This is part of the complexity of retail fulfillment. It’s important for a brand to find the right fit with a retail contract. It really depends on the product and its intended audience. But you also must consider the economics of various outlets and what the ROI will be for each one.
Chaz explains, “Many times, the operational load of onboarding a 20-door retailer is almost the same as the operational load of onboarding a 1,000-door retailer. At least when it comes to the integration and the back-end of the operation. If that’s the case for your situation, you want to kind of get the most bang for your buck.”
About Starday Foods
Starday Foods leverages best practices from the software industry to enable speed, efficiency, and empathy in food and beverage product development. With modern tools at our disposal, we’re able to deliver on a simple promise: we make food that consumers want to be eating. Currently Starday has two product lines: All Day, which is a complete seasoning set to bring bold, complex flavor to every meal, mood and season; and Gooey which is an absurdly delicious all-natural chocolate hazelnut spread that’s low in sugar, high on chocolate, and made without palm oil or dairy.