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Stonewall Kitchen Goes From Farm Stand to International Distributor with Microsoft Dynamics NAV


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 This is an exclusive case study for the ERP Software Blog based on an interview with Andrea Hall, Information Systems Director, Stonewall Kitchen, at Convergence 2013. 

The Company

stonewall1Just over 21 years ago, two friends were selling homemade food items at local farmers’ markets. Fast forward to 2013 and their business, Stonewall Kitchen, is a multi-million dollar organization with 425 employees. They operate 11 retail locations, an online and catalog business mailing over 3 million catalogs a year and distribute to 42 countries. Their production facility has become a tourist destination with a café and cooking school focused on their original goal of bringing family and friends together to enjoy good food. Since 1999 their revenue has grown eight times and they continue to expand.  Stonewall Kitchen trusts Microsoft Dynamics NAV to run their business. This is their story.

Download the full case study PDF

The Challenge

stonewall3In 1999 Stonewall Kitchen was using QuickBooks to manage financials, and a basic paper based system to track orders, but nothing was automated on the manufacturing side. Andrea Hall, Information Systems Director, recalls, “Our financials needed to go to the next level.  We didn’t have part numbers.  We didn’t have bill of materials, we had recipes written on paper in a three-ring binder. At that time, we didn’t know what our future would look like but we knew it was going to be growing and changing. We needed an ERP system that was flexible.” 

The Stonewall team compared Microsoft Dynamics® SL, Microsoft Dynamics® NAV and Oracle. 

The COO challenged each of the three vendors on the short list to add a custom field to a specific screen.  One vendor said, “I’m not really sure I can; I’ll get back to you.”  One actually called the home office which said it could be done but they would have to put in a change request. But the Dynamics NAV vendor said, “Yes, I’ll do it right now for you.” 

The price point for Dynamics NAV was perfect for their small, growing business and the proven flexibility gave them a clear winner.

The Benefits 

1)      Flexibility

“Every single time that any business area within the company has had an idea, we have been able to make Dynamics NAVdo it.  Dynamics NAV has allowed us to become the company we wanted to become, as opposed to hindering us along the way.  We do not need to do workarounds. Dynamics NAV has always allowed us to fulfill the ideas that we have.  This makes us a special company in our industry, too. We are able to be flexible and responsive.” 

2)      User Adoption

“Our corporate controller and our COO, who was formerly our CFO, have worked with a variety of ERP systems in their careers and they both say that Dynamics NAV is hands down the best financial package they’ve ever worked with.  The chart of accounts, the way that it does the account schedules, everything, they love it.” 

3)      Complete System

“We love the fact that everything: financials, purchasing, vendors and even manufacturing, is in one system instead of having to have separate best of breed systems. It is so advantageous to see all the numbers just roll up together and the same broad base of employees working on the same system. The training is the same, the language is the same, throughout the company.” 

4)      Unlimited Creativity

“We get sort of crazy with our promotions in a way no out of the box system would manage. This allowed us, especially when the economy was tough, to react and revamp programs entirely in Dynamics NAV to be more creative in how we charge people or what services we could offer. We believe in Dynamics NAV so much that we’ve actually invested in having 1½ in‑house developers on our team. A day doesn’t go by in a year that we don’t do something with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

stonewall2Currently Stonewall Kitchen has 62 users in Microsoft Dynamics NAV and is implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the free connector tool. The company is growing rapidly and has some “very exciting assertive goals for the next five years.”

Customers in 42 countries are already enjoying Stonewall Kitchen products. And there is still more demand. Andrea Hall smiles as she says, “who thought Dubai needed Maine jams? But apparently they do!”

Stonewall Kitchen will continue to rely on Microsoft Dynamics to move their business forward.

Download the full case study PDF

  By Anya Ciecierski, ERP Software Blog Editor, www.erpsoftwareblog.com

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