Earls Kitchen Bar web photo 1

Earls Kitchen + Bar consolidates its vendors to more easily expand throughout the United States.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

In the restaurant industry, it’s all about launching the right concept at the right time. Earls Kitchen + Bar did just that in summer 2014 when the popular Canadian casual-dining chain expanded further into the United States.

“Earls is definitely providing great-quality ingredients; funky, ever-changing cuisine in a casual atmosphere and in beautiful buildings,” says Claudia Vorlaufer, vice president of procurement and logistics. “People want to go places that feel special, cool, funky and comfortable. Dress up or come in your jeans – any mood you are in we cater to you. Our expansion has been successful and I think it has been a matter of timing and the right evolution of the brand.”

BG Foods web photo 1

B&G Foods’ procurement team has helped the company double its stable of brands in the past decade.

By Tim O’Connor

Supply chain interruptions are a nightmare for any company, but it’s especially frightening when the product has a shelf life. A delayed shipment of the metallic film used to make cheese puff bags not only keeps the product off retailer displays, but it risks going stale as it waits for packaging.

It’s one of the reasons New Jersey-based B&G Foods takes care to diversify its supplier base. The company typically has two to three suppliers for each procurement area across its larger network and five to six on a smaller basis that can jump in whenever there is an issue.

The strategy paid off last fall when hurricanes in Houston and Florida threatened the on-time delivery of several critical materials. B&G Foods had contracts in place that protected it on pricing during the shortage and fulfilled orders from its suppliers’ secondary manufacturing sites to ensure it kept its own production lines running.

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Ripple Foods web photo

Ripple Foods wants to be known as a source for quality alternative dairy products.

By Alan Dorich

Ripple Foods is a relatively young company, but it has the wisdom of an older firm. “We’ve assembled a team that has a lot of experience and knows how to navigate the complex retail space,” Vice President of Supply Chain Brian Hudon says.

Based in Emeryville, Calif., Ripple Foods manufactures dairy-free, plant-based milk, half and half, and yogurt. “We set out to provide a product that tastes good first and foremost, and is nutritious,” he says.

Neil Renninger and Adam Lowry co-founded the company in 2014 after working in the biofuels and environmental cleaning products industries. “They thought the dairy alternative space lacked something that consumers were looking for,” Hudon says.

Southeastern Mills web photo

Southeastern Mills’ supply chain leader is revamping the company’s processes.  

By Kat Zeman

Maximizing efficiencies in the supply chain is an ongoing challenge in many of industries today. Businesses and organizations are reviewing, renewing and revising their processes to supply their end-users with products and services more efficiently and at a reduced cost. 

In the past, dedicating an entire department to the supply chain was common only among large corporations. Today, small- to mid-sized businesses are seeing its benefits, too. Rome, Ga.-based Southeastern Mills is among those companies that are starting to increase their focus on supply chain efficiencies.

In 2016, the company created a new supply chain leadership position. “Most of the company’s supply chain functions were in place to some degree, but it didn’t have a supply chain leader,” says Fran Smith, who took over the leadership role as the company’s vice president of supply chain.

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