Frozen Pops Manufacturer Bridges Ambitious Growth Plans With NetSuite ERP

Megan O’Brien, Business & Finance Editor

December 15, 2022


QUICK READ:

  • JonnyPops manufactures frozen treats that feature wholesome ingredients and encourage acts of kindness.
  • With an annual growth rate of 50%+, JonnyPops switched from QuickBooks and spreadsheets to NetSuite.
  • The business traces each product's entire life cycle in NetSuite in order to meet strict regulatory requirements and its own commitment to an allergen-free production environment.
  • When facing supply chain snags, the team quickly reformulates products using NetSuite Material Requirements Planning (MRP).
  • JonnyPops has quadrupled in size since implementing NetSuite and aims to get its treats into more retailers while maintaining top quality.


About JonnyPops

It’s safe to say that JonnyPops has come a long way since its decidedly humble beginnings. 

Co-founders Erik Brust and Connor Wray started JonnyPops in their dorm rooms as college students in 2011, using blenders and real fruit to create delicious flavor combinations. Distribution channels consisted of weekends and summers at local farmers markets and beaches. 

Brust and Wray entered the frozen treat industry with a simple, yet lofty goal: Create a better pop for a better world through simple, wholesome ingredients and kind deeds written on every stick.

Since then, JonnyPops’ mission hasn’t changed — but its operations certainly have. The frozen pop company's retail presence has expanded rapidly, with products in more than 10,000 retail outlets across all 50 states and several foreign countries. 

JonnyPops also expanded its product portfolio beyond fruit- and cream-based flavors to include dairy-free and juice-based alternatives, all while keeping products completely peanut-, tree nut-, and gluten-free, as well as kosher-certified.

With an annual growth rate of over 50%, the team at JonnyPops(opens in new tab) knew that they needed a better system in place to keep expanding.

Get an overview of the JonnyPops story from CFO and co-founder Connor Wray:


Multi-Location Inventory Creates Traceability Complexity

In the initial stages of the company, the team at JonnyPops relied on a mix of spreadsheets and QuickBooks. However, issues began to arise as they grew their roster of products, inventory locations, and retailers. 

“When you only have a couple of products and customers, maybe you can find a way to get by with paper spreadsheets. But the second you start to expand, it's an exponential problem when it comes to tracking products, components, and customers.” –Connor Wray


Due to both regulatory requirements and the company’s commitment to an allergen-free environment, JonnyPops needed a solution that could trace the full life cycle of each of its products, from individual ingredients to where the finished goods were sold. 

“Our most pointed challenge was multi-location inventory management and [finding a solution] that could also handle our traceability needs,” said Wray. “We needed to track cradle to grave … to a 99%-plus degree of accuracy. And that's something that gets regularly audited and tested.”


Selecting a Scalable Solution

The JonnyPops team began evaluating technology for their burgeoning business with several criteria in mind. Most notably, they wanted a cloud-based solution that could do a lot of things out of the box. 

“We ended up selecting NetSuite as the optimal solution for us because we really believed in the technology direction and, in particular, the feature set that exists in NetSuite,” Wray said. “[We liked the] ability to configure and customize the system without an extreme amount of professional or technical services.” 

The ability to configure the system was especially important for the JonnyPops team as they grappled with rapid growth. They knew that processes and the business as a whole were likely to change drastically post-implementation as the company expanded.

“We really believed in NetSuite’s platform being able to grow with us. We knew we didn't want to put a lot of effort into implementing a static solution, because our growth rate is greater than 50% a year.” –Connor Wray



Creating Visibility Across Multiple Locations

Since implementing NetSuite in 2016, JonnyPops has quadrupled in size. As the business grows more multifaceted, it has used NetSuite to digitize and centralize all important information. With a variety of US locations receiving materials, the JonnyPops team can track a product from point of receipt through the factory to consumer delivery. This is an especially important capability to meet food traceability requirements, ensure accurate audits, and prevent waste.

“We can trace something from cradle to grave with just a few button clicks — it brings a lot of peace of mind to our team knowing that we can look into this very quickly. [NetSuite users] have the ability to look at that information and have it at their fingertips, 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world.” –Connor Wray


In addition to ensuring visibility, JonnyPops uses NetSuite SuiteFlow(opens in new tab) to implement required tests, policies, and standards to ensure that only the highest-quality ingredients end up in its products. If a component does not meet specified parameters, the system will not permit it to move forward.


Handling Supply Chain Disruption and Increased Demand

To cope with recent supply chain disruptions, JonnyPops also uses NetSuite Material Requirements Planning (MRP)(opens in new tab) software to eliminate bottlenecks and facilitate effective supply planning. With more visibility into the supply chain, JonnyPops proactively works with vendors or reformulates a product to use slightly different components to avoid shortages and delays.

“We're able to rerun supply plans and generate a whole updated list of recommendations to allow us to respond to supply disruptions quickly and effectively,” said Wray. “That and the real-time, accurate visibility into our inventory across all of our locations allow us to make good decisions.”

The ability to keep production running smoothly was especially important at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As ice cream and frozen novelty sales increased dramatically(opens in new tab), JonnyPops faced a huge influx in demand. Integrated electronic data interchange (EDI) within NetSuite between JonnyPops’ customers, freight providers, and 3PLs facilitated the spiking order volume.

“We were able to accommodate that scale-up pretty smoothly because we already had well-established workflows in NetSuite,” said Wray. 


Eying Retail Expansion

JonnyPops continues to have big plans. With an additional manufacturing facility on the way, retail growth both domestically and internationally is the goal. Currently, JonnyPops has products in about 25% of stores where ice cream is sold domestically. The vision is to increase that to somewhere between 80-90% – while still providing the great products that people already love. As it grows, JonnyPops will continue using NetSuite Learning Cloud Support(opens in new tab) to get new team members trained and working in NetSuite quickly.

It perhaps goes without saying that taking a business from ideation to maturity is a journey filled with numerous twists and turns. JonnyPops is no exception. 

“The business has changed in ways that we couldn’t have foreseen,” said Wray. “And the technology that NetSuite brought allowed us to take that journey more seamlessly than the other solutions out there.”

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.