It’s a candy lover’s dream: a 60,000-square-foot space stocked with virtually every sweet treat imaginable. Thousands of orders pour in every day, but although Candy.com has been compared to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, there are no Oompa Loompas in sight. The company relies on its (human) warehouse employees to ship out the orders in a timely fashion.
A lean operation and constantly moving inventory means that Candy.com needs to stay aware of sales trends in order to effectively schedule its employees. Back when Candy.com CTO Gary Cifatte was using manual processes to analyze trends, he was spending at least two hours a week running NetSuite saved searches, adding the data to an Excel spreadsheet, and emailing it around to employees for review and analysis. But because data kept coming in at all hours, a once-a-day trend snapshot wasn’t effective.
Without a constantly updated picture of sales trends, employees couldn’t truly see what was going on, and they couldn’t understand why they were falling behind. This lack of transparency led to staffing issues. “We had to force overtime and weekends,” Cifatte says.
Reduction in Labor Costs
Once Candy.com started using iCharts for NetSuite, a real-time visual analytics solution, everything changed. The company was able to review sales trends in real time, so management could pick up on patterns and more easily predict when extra staffing would be necessary. Now, order backlogs are virtually a thing of the past, which eliminates the need for overtime shifts. Cifatte says that the savings in wages alone has been “substantial” since Candy.com switched out its manual processes for the robust, real time data visualization that iCharts provides.
Candy + iCharts = Less Stress
Using iCharts helped improve the corporate culture at Candy.com. Since staff is no longer asked to work overtime or on weekends, stress levels are lower. There’s much less of a need for “firefighting,” as well. “We’re now proactive rather than being reactive,” Cifatte says.
iCharts has been hugely beneficial to warehouse workers at Candy.com, but the finance team, the management team, and the IT team all have their own custom portals in iCharts, with access tailored specifically to their needs.
Cifatte says that he now spends perhaps one day a month tweaking reports and sending them out, and he and the entire company have a better understanding of real-time trends.
“I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a package stronger than iCharts that allowed for reporting of real-time information,” he says. “I would strongly recommend iCharts as an add-on to NetSuite. I don’t understand how we ever survived without before.”
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