Proactive Support Eases Supply Chain Challenges for Great Lakes Coffee Roasters
Situated near the shores of Lake Erie in the Buffalo, NY area, Great Lakes Coffee Roasters is a small-batch coffee roastery, retailer, and distributor, offering a diverse selection of blends, single-origin, and artisanal flavors in one-pound bags and single-serve packages. Their commitment to small batch roasting ensures the quality and consistency that their customers have grown to appreciate.
During the pandemic, Great Lakes Coffee Roasters faced a challenge in fulfilling their orders for one-pound bag coffees to TJX Companies, which includes retail giants like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods. The specific requirement was to pack the coffee in sets of four bags per box, necessitating a custom-sized packaging solution.
While the company managed to roast and package its coffee without issues, the bottleneck occurred in boxing and distributing the product. The vendor they were relying on consistently failed to deliver the required quantity of boxes on time, disrupting their shipment schedules.
This delay not only impacted their timeline but also forced Great Lakes Coffee Roasters to resort to purchasing larger boxes at almost double the cost. Consequently, fewer boxes could fit on a pallet, exacerbating the problem and creating a ripple effect throughout their distribution process.
“It was incredibly frustrating and completely unexpected. We were caught off guard by the box shortage,” remarked Brent Garner, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Having to purchase boxes of different sizes during those periods likely resulted in additional expenses, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars we hadn’t budgeted for. This situation was particularly challenging as prices were rising across the board, and we couldn’t adjust the rates we charged TJX. We had no choice but to absorb all those extra costs.”
After experiencing disappointments with several local box companies that couldn’t consistently meet their needs, Brent Garner turned to Jamestown Container Companies (JCC) for assistance. JCC’s production capabilities in multiple locations allowed them to deliver the customized boxes Brent needed faster and more reliably than other vendors.
To ensure a steady supply of custom boxes, JCC proactively communicates with Brent to understand his ongoing requirements. Brent shared his positive experience, stating, “It was significant to have Jamestown stay ahead of our needs, planning the next order in advance, unlike other companies that waited for our request. Jamestown always anticipated our box requirements and maintained a back-stock for us, enabling us to access it swiftly, especially during tight timelines.”
When Great Lakes Coffee Roaster expanded to supply single-serve cups to TJX stores for home brewing, JCC was there to provide both retail and shipping boxes. JCC didn’t just provide boxes; they collaborated with Great Lakes Coffee Roaster to optimize designs, reducing materials and costs. They carefully evaluated bag and cup sizes, offering mockups to identify the most efficient and practical designs for filling the boxes.
Brent emphasized the personal touch that sets Jamestown apart, stating, “With Jamestown, there is a personal touch. They took the time to understand our company and find the best way to align their services with our needs. This level of personalized attention was something we hadn’t experienced before. We used to deal primarily with large companies that didn’t prioritize our specific requirements; they simply followed their standard procedures.”
The JCC Account Manager regularly visits the Knowlton Technologies plant, checking with the warehouse team to see if forecast changes are coming or if additional packaging is needed. This often happens without Thomas’s involvement.
““Thanks to Jamestown’s location and capabilities, they were able to provide us with boxes faster and more reliably than our previous supplier.” – Brent Garner, Vice President of Sales & Marketing Great Lakes Coffee Roasters
- Improved Customer Service: Anticipating needs and delivering reliable shipments promptly and in the desired box dimensions.
- Peace of Mind: Having the assurance that boxes will be accessible has alleviated the stress of potential delays in delivering to customers.
- Cost savings: By ensuring the availability of packaging and optimizing sizes to accommodate coffee products, reduce material use, and maintain filling efficiency, the company has realized significant cost savings.