On a Monday in late August, Super Coffee launched its limited-time-only fall flavor, maple pumpkin. The company had just 10 weeks to get the most sales out of three products in the collection: bottled coffee, creamer and pods for single-serve coffee machines.
Super Coffee’s leadership team expected the pods would sell best, as they were a brand-new product. But by mid-morning, sales data from their ERP system revealed that was not the case.
The team pinpointed the reason for the pods’ poor performance — a mix of ad spend and site placement — and made changes to its ecommerce site in fewer than 12 hours, said President Jordan DeCicco.
By Thursday, the pods had climbed the sales rankings, and Super Coffee had celebrated four record-breaking days of online sales in a row.
Swimming With the Sharks
DeCicco started Super Coffee in 2015 as a college freshman who craved a low-sugar alternative to bottled coffee and energy drinks. After slinging self-blended beverages out of his dorm room, he dropped out of school and recruited his brothers to join him in building a company around his healthy energy product.
The trio landed on Shark Tank, where they didn’t get a deal — a veritable flop. But one year later, they were on fire. They’d revamped their product line and scored a round of private equity funding, and their valuation was five times that they’d presented to the Sharks.
“That’s the story of our company: You can’t dwell on your losses too much,” said DeCicco. “Learn from it. Get on with it. Improve.”
More milestones for Super Coffee, also known as Kitu Life Inc.:
- The brand is now sold in 25,000 retail stores nationwide, five years post-launch.
- Inc. named it the fastest-growing food and beverage company of 2020.
- This past summer, Super Coffee raised $25 million in a fundraising round that valued it at more than $200 million.
DeCicco largely credits these wins to a strong business system behind his breakout brand.
Super Coffee was “still fairly small,” said DeCicco, when it “decided to make the jump” from QuickBooks to NetSuite. As of 2018, the company’s controller used QuickBooks for general accounting, and the supply chain team used it for purchase orders and inventory management.
At the time, Super Coffee was closing a Series A and aiming to grow sales nearly sixfold in the coming year. Informed decisions would be invaluable.
“Imagine you’re driving a car really fast, and you have duct tape over your dashboard,” said DeCicco. “You don’t know how fast you’re going, you don’t know how much gas you have, and you’re probably not going to get where you’re trying to go. NetSuite provides that dashboard for us.”
DeCicco relies on his literal NetSuite dashboard daily, he said. He monitors sales orders by SKU — Super Coffee has 43 SKUs — and evaluates which products and flavors are performing best across the company’s nine U.S. sales regions.
If performance isn’t up to par, leadership works with the rest of the company to pull a quick change, as in the case of the maple pumpkin pods.
Life After QuickBooks
Overall, DeCicco characterized Super Coffee’s work with NetSuite as time-saving and efficiency-boosting. For example:
While working in QuickBooks, Super Coffee built its own order entry system. That spreadsheet acted as a dashboard which the sales team used daily in order to understand its goals. However, manually entering each order into the spreadsheet “was taking a lot of our team’s time,” said DeCicco.
While working in NetSuite, the entire company gets a sales report at the end of each day, which breaks down sales by SKU, region and customer. That report, which arrives in their inboxes automatically, “would’ve taken hours, days, or maybe even weeks to produce before,” per DeCicco.
This newfound ability to work smarter means team sizes have stayed consistent, he added. The supply chain and finance teams haven’t changed since Super Coffee’s ERP implementation, even though the company has grown nearly 500%.
“[Those teams] have stayed in place because they’ve been so much more efficient with the NetSuite tool,” DeCicco said. “Cutting out the manual time and energy that goes into the QuickBooks system has really saved us on payroll.”
“Cutting out the manual time and energy that goes into the QuickBooks system has really saved us on payroll.”
-Jordan DeCicco, founder, Super Coffee
Let’s Make a Deal
Super Coffee didn’t lay off any team members due to COVID-19, even though sales slipped in the spring. Instead, leadership found other areas in which to cut spending by modeling various outcomes in NetSuite. They ran what-if analyses to predict impacts on their bottom line and cash burn if they were to, say, pull back on digital ad spend and see sales return to normal levels in six months.
Their dutiful reporting made it “justifiable” to ask for slightly more money in their Series B fundraising round, which closed in June amid the pandemic. It also gave Super Coffee a leg up on the competition, per DeCicco.
“Because of the decisions we were able to make using NetSuite and its reporting, we’re in a much better place than other brands in our category and industry as a whole,” he said.
Distribution & Discipline
Super Coffee’s future plans include:
- Continuing to “navigate the pandemic daily,” as DeCicco put it, while releasing new products as planned. (The team usually launches a new product every quarter.)
- Preparing to go all-in next year on its new partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has more than 500 distributors nationwide. The goal is to get Super Coffee into retailers like Walmart and Costco.
- Using its most recent funding to double down on digital marketing (content creation and ads) now that the pandemic has squashed sampling, previously one of the brand’s biggest brand awareness drivers.
Super Coffee also aims to grow 200% next year, in part to meet profitability goals per its Series B. Based on his experience thus far, DeCicco said, his company and its ERP system are up to the task. He once again nodded to the NetSuite dashboard, which he’ll use on a “daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis” to ensure Super Coffee is spending only where it’s getting the best return.
“We want to grow fast but also be efficient and disciplined with our spending,” DeCicco said. “NetSuite allows us to do that.”
? Learn more about making the switch from QuickBooks to NetSuite.