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After 120 years CA's Jelly Belly still setting supply chain and efficiency example

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Aug. 17, 2018

This week CompanyWeek and CMTA bring you a profile on California's iconic 120-year old Jelly Belly Candy Company.  Under the leadership of fifth generation CEO Lisa Brasher the company is expanding into new markets and categories, requiring new supply chain efficiencies, and remains an international powerhouse among the confectionery industry.

Jelly Belly produces a whopping 15 billion jelly beans a year.  With more than 100 flavors, including a line of organic beans, the company needed to improve efficiencies to keep up with delivery times. "We don't limit our commitment to innovation to candy making," says Brasher. "We extend this to the supply chain too. Over the years, we have developed new relationships with vendors from ingredient suppliers, to shipping and logistics, to keep our company running as efficiently as possible. In the last few years, we have worked with a third-party logistics provider to improve delivery times to the Midwest and East Coast. Gone are the days of three to five days to deliver to these accounts, and that improves our retailers' businesses and ours."

Just like so many California manufacturers Jelly Belly and Brasher are constantly improving its supply chain, but Brasher also uses technology to find efficiencies elsewhere in the system. "We look for opportunities across the board to improve efficiency by investing in technology," says Brasher. "For example, we have further automated our packaging process by developing a number of different package types, all with different needs to pack efficiently. Automation has allowed us to improve accuracy and output. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if we can produce 1,700 Jelly Belly beans per second if we can't pack them up and ship them out in a timely and cost-productive way."

Here are a few opportunities and challenges before Jelly Belly:

Challenges: "The candy industry faces the well-known challenge of obesity," says Brasher. "We are upfront about the fact that we make candy, but we think that by being transparent about our products and giving consumers options in terms of smaller package sizes, we can empower them to make the best choices for themselves and their families."

The price of sugar in the U.S. is another challenge, she adds. "We pay significantly more for sugar than we would on the open market. We are working with industry leaders to talk to our political representatives about this issue. Spending less on sugar could allow us to expand, hire more employees, and reinvest in our American manufacturing."

Opportunities: "We are always looking for new opportunities for growth. We have expanded lines into sports nutrition with our Sport Beans product, and entered the organic category with Organic Jelly Beans and Fruit Flavored Snacks," says Brasher. "We also look for ways to be innovative in how we connect with consumers. We recently updated both of our North American tours with new 4K videos and interactive exhibits. Reinvesting in a tour seen by three-quarters of a million people each year lets us stay fresh and relevant."

Needs: "As we continue to invest in automation, we need skilled mechanics and journeymen to maintain the equipment," says Brasher. "We have found that many of our friends in the industry face the same need for qualified mechanics. It is an in-demand skill." .... READ MORE ON COMPANYWEEK CA

 

 





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