Handcrafted Candies in the Cloud: How Sanders Found Success

  • Staff Writer
  • Dec. 30, 2015
  • Customers

As dozens of Sanders cherry cordials pass under the enrober, a molten waterfall coats them in pure, dark chocolate. Two candymakers use gloved fingers to create the classic “Sanders Twirl” atop the candy before it enters the cooling tunnel.

In a world where mass production and cost reduction seem to rule, dedication to handcrafted confections and relentless pursuit of product quality is what separates Sanders from their competitors, but how could it ever scale? How can a company with a desire to grow be true to their product and the expectations of everyone who has enjoyed Sanders candies for decades, without sacrificing quality?

The team at Sanders knew that in order to grow their business, they needed to have the same level of quality in their inventory and supply chain management that they had in their candy. Customers, especially big customers, need more than great products – they need them on time, in the right place, in the right quantity.

“Technology was not working for us, we were working for it, and that means that we were always putting data in and getting very little value return for that,” says Kevin Jablonski, Sanders vice president of Operations and Technology and ERP project lead.

They turned to technology to help find a solution, specifically a cloud ERP system.

Working in the cloud, Sanders took many manual processes and automated them through labeling and bar code scanning. Moving to a cloud ERP solution reduced time spent in administration, and also increased accuracy. Efficiency and accuracy have been imperative as Sanders grows its volume and introduces new products into the market.

“Plex has helped us get more detailed and more accurate data, with fewer people inputting things into the system, and so it's working for us. What it's done is allowed those individuals to add value back to the positions – making candy and taking care of customers. So now they're coming up with new ideas of "How do we do things better?" "How are we faster?" "What about this?"

Sanders’ ability to scale with quality is enabling the candy maker to grow across the country in chains like Costco and Target, and their chocolates are now featured on select Delta flights.