Gourmet Boutique: A long-term relationship with fair-minded people

 

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Gourmet Boutique manufactures high-quality, pre-cooked entrées, salads, and side dishes for retail and food service applications. It has manufacturing facilities in Jamaica, New York, and Phoenix, Arizona. Gourmet Boutique is equipped to produce 25 million pounds of fresh and frozen food per year to all 50 states and neighboring countries.

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Enabling Technology

Challenge

A key ingredient to Gourmet Boutique’s success is its skilled, loyal team. There is a substantial amount of tribal knowledge that has accumulated over the past 25 years. But as the company has grown, it needed to move from head knowledge and Excel spreadsheets to a more sustainable method of managing manufacturing processes.

After partnering with two different Microsoft Value Added Resellers (VARS), Gourmet Boutique realized that it needed to find a partner with a different approach that could help with its existing system and guide them on their journey to a more modern version. After a lengthy evaluation of several other Microsoft Partners (and considering non-Microsoft ERPs), Gourmet Boutique decided to trust Innovia Consulting with the ongoing support of their NAV 5.0 system. After a year in partnership, Gourmet Boutique selected Innovia to help them move to Business Central on-premises. This project is on schedule to be completed in February 2022.

Looking back on the way things were, IT Director Mike Reibman had this to say: “My (Innovia) Customer Engagement Specialist has a saying he likes to use, which is ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ That is about as true as it gets. We didn’t even know the state of our own in-house data.” In talking about Gourmet Boutique’s upgrade, Innovia Project Manager Annette Buchal shared: “Even though Gourmet Boutique has been running NAV for years, the setup was not ready for manufacturing. Implementing manufacturing means the data must be correct. In Gourmet Boutique’s case, with so much data coming from knowledge rather than the system, it was an eye-opener for all to the importance of documenting procedures and processes. Without basic documentation, turnover can make it difficult to recoup lost knowledge.

A Partnership with Fair-Minded People

Mike remembers a phrase that came up frequently in his early talks with Innovia. “Innovia wants to develop long-term relationships with fair-minded people. Tom Doran (Innovia’s CMO) said it in our meetings with them when they came and met our team for the first time. And when I met their team at the Innovia Customer Conference, before we even signed anything with them, I said that back to him. It is a notion that they prove out. They are fair-minded people. They want to be in it with you for the long haul. It shows.”

Innovia Resources to Help Us Achieve Our Goals

In speaking about his designated project team, Mike said, “I would say that Innovia has exceeded our expectations when it comes to projects. The project team includes a Project Manager, Application Consultants, and technical resources, which have been great. When there is an outside piece (such as a software ISV) that requires extra attention to meet a deadline or goal – the PM steps in to make sure the job gets done right and on time.”

Mike, changing his focus to his dedicated Customer Engagement Specialist proceeded to share: “We have an Account Manager who is a dedicated resource to us at no charge, who can take time with us and answer questions, which is especially helpful when someone comes up with some previously unasked question about capabilities and such. You won’t get a deep technical dive here, but you will get a high-level overview. The account rep will then put together the resources needed to provide the deep-dive as necessary.”

Mike also took a second to acknowledge the Innovia Support Squad. “There’s also a support team – so when we run into issues in our current platform, we call or open a ticket online, and we get help in a timely fashion.”

Mike concluded his thoughts by touching on Innovia’s free webinars. “Innovia runs webinars for free almost every week. It would probably be a good idea to attend a couple of these to see the quality of people you’re dealing with. They know their stuff. And if you ask them a question that they don’t know, they’ll make sure they understand you, and they WILL get you an answer.”

Doing the Right Thing

Innovia’s team makes mistakes from time to time, but their commitment to doing the right thing always really impressed Mike and the rest of the Gourmet Boutique team.

“We had a support incident where it took them a lot of extra time to get the ball rolling. They got to the solution, but it took longer than expected to do so. Well, when we received the invoice, we didn’t like it. Early on, Tom Doran from Innovia had stated, ‘If I send you an invoice and you don’t feel it’s fair, don’t pay it.’ So, we called him about this and got the invoice reduced by some of the time to what we felt was fair. It’s a representation of how Innovia does business.”

Moving to the Latest and Greatest

Innovia is currently assisting Gourmet Boutique in the move from Nav 5.0 to Business Central On-Premises. This upgrade will add new functionality, including manufacturing, materials planning, Warehousing, the use of Bins and Insight Works Warehouse solution to facilitate handhelds in Receiving, Inventory Movements, Production Processes, and Inventory Counting. In conjunction with putting tribal knowledge right into Business Central, this new functionality will help position Gourmet Boutique for even greater success in the future. In talking about his partnership with Innovia, Mike Reibman shared:

“I would call Innovia a trusted partner when it comes to our relationship. We work with them closely, and they act as an extension of our teams. They can advocate for us. We can lean on them. It all works.”

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