Beckon Ice Cream

Operations and Sales Optimization

Founded by two college friends looking to solve their issues with ice cream...

Boston-based Beckon Ice Cream is the first premium, lactose-free ice cream that is still made from real milk and cream.  The secret?  Instead of using dairy alternatives, they add the lactase enzyme to make rich, delicious, lactose free ice cream.

After a few years of selling at local farmers markets and into regional independents, Beckon had proven their concept and were ready for their next phase of growth.  By the summer of 2018, sales efforts were paying off and new authorizations from Whole Foods Market and other national retailers presented them with a huge opportunity to grow the business, but also a significant operational challenge: their manufacturing was lacking consistency and capacity, ad-hoc spreadsheet-based inventory management tools were causing out of stocks and an accounting nightmare, and they lacked a formal and efficient methodology for basic order management. 

The Beckon management team recognized the urgency of addressing these operational issues and partnered with Rodeo Ops to solve them.   

Copacker Search + Transition

Rodeo began the engagement by conducting a comprehensive, national search for a new co-manufacturing partner.  A three-phase search eventually landed them with a new partner who not only had the capacity to meet their long-term growth plans, but also the ability to improve product quality and consistency.   From there, the Rodeo team managed all trial coordination, materials management, and ensured a smooth transition from plant to plant, all in the middle of a national rollout to Whole Foods Market across 12 UNFI DC’s.  

Inventory Management System Implementation

Concurrent to the co-manufacturer search, Rodeo was also kicking the tires of the Beckon inventory management systems.  With product innovation and line-extensions in the pipeline for 2019, along with significant increases in PO frequency and customer counts, the Rodeo team knew that their needs were becoming increasingly complex.   To address this, Rodeo recommended an inventory management software called DEAR Systems, and a system implementation was undertaken in early 2019. Rodeo worked with the Beckon accounting team to connect DEAR Systems to their book of record and map out the chart of accounts, and migrated all inventory, inventory valuation, COGS reporting/dashboarding, and order management functionality from spreadsheets into the software.  A detailed production run COGS analysis is a matter of setting a date field and clicking “run” on the report. 

Current Relationship

Today, Rodeo Ops manages the majority of the Beckon operations function in an outsourced environment, supplying Beckon with VP level operational strategy paired with tactical execution of day-to-day operations activities in logistics, customer service and manufacturing management.  We have implemented a proprietary material requirement planning model to manage all procurement and production run planning, with particular emphasis on minimizing the carrying cost of inventory and out-of-stocks.  Finally, the Rodeo Ops team works in tandem with the Rodeo Vision team to run a monthly Sales & Operations planning program for Beckon, consisting of in-depth analysis of sales trends, forecasting and operational plans. The results...

A banner sales year, tightly managed finished good inventory levels with fresh product in consumers hands, and a successful national rollout into Whole Foods Market leading to two new national SKU authorizations in 2020. 

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