Manufacturing, Retail, and Technology

Styrofoam supplier manages 'double-digit' growth with software

September 18, 2015
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Styrofoam supplier manages 'double-digit' growth with software
FloraCraft in Ludington is a fabricator and supplier of Styrofoam brand products for the floral, craft, display and event industries. Photo via

A supplier of Styrofoam brand products for the craft and floral industries has seen "double-digit" revenue growth over the last two-plus years, which it achieved in part by using cloud-based enterprise resource planning software.

FloraCraft of Ludington was recognized this month as a Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards by Computerworld honoree. The award recognizes organizations that are mining big data to analyze and predict business trends and monetize the information.

The recognition of the foam fabricator by Computerworld comes on the heels of the company’s 2014 recognition as a Walmart Supplier of the Year.

The recognitions and growth come after a strategic shift by the company, which was supported by a new software implementation and the application of big data.

Targeting floral industry

Seven years ago, FloraCraft sought to reinvent itself as a mass-market producer of floral supplies for the world’s largest retailers.

Due to the strategy, FloraCraft has tripled its inventory and gone from a supplier to regional florists into a multi-facility manufacturer. The company has 3,500 SKUs in production at any given time.

FloraCraft now supplies more than 12,000 retail locations in the U.S., including Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and Jo-Ann. The company also serves the display and event industries.

Software implementation

Jim Scatena, president and CEO of FloraCraft, said the company’s previous enterprise resource planning software, or ERP, “couldn’t keep up with our growth in products or volume, not to mention the level of speed and precision required to work with very large retailers.”

Two years ago, FloraCraft began working with cloud-based ERP software by Troy-based Plex, Plex Manufacturing Cloud.

FloraCraft implemented the ERP software at four production facilities in Michigan, California and Arkansas and by using big data, was able to increase production and revenue, without additional labor hours, and reduce costs.

Analyzing big data

FloraCraft uses the cloud-based ERP software to see into its business, such as when raw materials are delivered to financial reports, by collecting a host of real-time data from the materials, machines and people on the shop floor.

“We now have a full view of our business, from the supply chain to the production line to the customer, so we can do accurate, real-time production planning,” Scatena said.

He said the company has the ability to track costs down to "a tenth of a cent," which is a "key to staying competitive and managing profitability."

The big-data approach has helped FloraCraft expand into new markets by forecasting material needs based on big-box customer data and monitoring workstation performance and tracking inventory.

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