Right off the bat, Acctivate gave us the ability to see our transaction process flow better.”
David Wingard, CFO, St. Jude Candle Company
St Jude Candle Company: From a small factory to a manufacturing powerhouse
producing an average of 40,000 candles daily, St. Jude Candle Company (SJCC) desperately needed to handle their growth. They improved their production process and adopted Acctivate as their business solution for inventory, manufacturing and distribution management.
David Wingard, CFO, briefly described their struggle with the absence of efficient tools and processes during a heavy growth period.
“The first two years we were just trying to stay afloat and keep up with demand,” he said. “We were trying to keep up just with the growth and the transaction processing was sort of suffering. It was getting done, but it was not where it needed to be.”
“Each year we were experiencing double-digit growth,” Wingard explained about their first few years in business.
St. Jude Candle Company was on fire and they knew their growth would continue to surpass their current capabilities. As they began their search for a capable solution, they were preparing for the future.
St Jude Candle Company’s need for a best-in-class inventory solution
St. Jude Candle Company’s software search first led them to a financial management and accounting software built for growth and success. It was the perfect fit for their financial, reporting, ordering, and purchasing operations, but it just didn’t have the manufacturing capabilities they required.
“It does not have the bill of materials or the ability to do your assembly transactions, whether it be taking it from a raw material stage into a WIP stage or a finished goods stage,” Wingard said.
But there was a simple solution, Acctivate Inventory Management Software, which added those capabilities to their accounting software as an integrated solution.
Smoother manufacturing & overall operations
Wingard described their improved operations.
We have fine-tuned our production process. We tweaked the system and redefined some of the workflow to where it goes smoother on the production end.”
When asked if Acctivate has played a role in helping them get to this transition, Wingard answered, “yes, absolutely”.
St. Jude Candle Company has met their manufacturing requirements with Acctivate’s discrete manufacturing (assembly) feature and the custom manufacturing (kitting) feature. Wingard explained the benefits of using Acctivate:
One of the biggest benefits is that we can use the report writer to either get a full-blown cost of bill of materials or just a top-level without going through all of the sub-assemblies. That helps our production managers when we’re reviewing products or looking at taking on types of additional products. When we’re costing it out, we can use that.”
St. Jude Candle Company’s website advertises display pallets as a great way for their customers to merchandise popular, high-velocity items in their stores in an easy access package.
Acctivate’s custom manufacturing feature helps St. Jude Candle Company manage those display pallets, which are made up of different finished good items.
Our display pallets tend to stay out at the store level and are used as endcaps. They are not broken down and put on shelves, so it’s just a display with cases and the customer comes and grabs whatever they want. We sell different configurations, however, the customer wants.
The way Acctivate handles the display pallets has been a tremendous help.”
Real-time business intelligence
Wingard said the reporting capabilities were the “biggest selling factor” for Acctivate.
He explained the real-time data and visualization they have gained from Acctivate’s reporting:
Right off the bat, Acctivate gave us the ability to see our transaction process flow better.
We’re saving time on data input, but I think the biggest benefit is the turnaround time in the reporting to the necessary personnel or departments.”
The reporting capabilities, including the Acctivate dashboard, deliver the necessary information to everyone in the organization including production managers, “power users”, executives, and St. Jude Candle Company’s bank.
We’re adding the necessary equipment to double our production output. These plans require SJCC to have an equipment and operating line of credit with their bank and in turn their bank requires them to deliver reports about specific operational aspects of their business. That is where Acctivate’s reporting also helps them out.
We have to give the bank monthly reports and we have the capability to provide reports on a timely basis to upper management and our bank.”
Efficient features for reporting and manufacturing are key factors for better operations that Acctivate has delivered to SJCC, but Wingard said there is an added bonus…
The ease of use in training someone that’s not familiar with Acctivate. It is pretty user friendly.”
A scalable solution supports current & future growth
The rising demand for St. Jude Candle Company’s high-quality devotional candles continues, but now with Acctivate they can fulfill their current and future needs.
Wingard illustrated their continued growth stating that nine months following their implementation of Acctivate, “we were averaging 10 ½ percent growth.” They are accommodating and increasing this growth with equipment additions for greater production output and the expansion of their manufacturing facility.
Wingard summarized their future goals.
Our goals are to put out the best candle in the market, to continue and expand our ongoing relationships and to add new customers.”
Acctivate will be by their side as they grow and SJCC knows that the software will grow with them. Wingard gave one example of how Acctivate can accommodate them in the future.
We are also anticipating, as we grow with our expanded equipment, that eventually, we will be going to some type of barcoding to where we’re scanning production transactions and purchase order receiving. Even though we’re not using barcoding at this time, that is something that we’ll be pursuing.”