When a pair of beekeeping hobbyists started selling supplies out of their garage in the 1980s, they probably didn’t imagine Mann Lake Bee & Ag Supply would be buzzing like it is today. The manufacturer and retail distributor sells to both individual hobbyists and commercial beekeepers and recently expanded into poultry, offering supplies and live birds. Mann Lake aims to become a one-stop shop for everything related to hobby farming.
Mann Lake Bee & Ag Supply
Facts at a glance...
- Mann Lake kicked off a string of growth initiatives: It partnered with a private equity firm, which provided capital to acquire three businesses and buy a new distribution facility. In 2020, there was an onslaught of interest in beekeeping as a hobby. Mann Lake’s sales orders leaped to 12,000 per week in its busiest season.
A plan to keep up with demand and pursue more acquisitions
- Their old system was painfully slow at processing. It took 23 team members to manually process customer invoices when demand peaked
- Automated order management and invoicing. When it implemented NetSuite, Mann Lake automated order management. The system automatically generates POs, bills customers, receives invoices and pays vendors, while teams simply enter sales orders and import vendor tracking numbers. The process which once required four people now takes just one.
With accounts receivable automation, the system processes invoices and charges customer credit cards as soon as an order is fulfilled, occupying just three employees.
Mann Lake plans to sharpen its demand forecasting with NetSuite. With less cash tied up in inventory, the team will invest in product development, manufacturing equipment and employee engagement. With a stronger business system, it also plans to get back into acquisition mode in the next year or so, cementing Mann Lake as the one-stop shop for hobby farmers.
“One of the top reasons we went with NetSuite was to invest money in a system that will continue to grow with us, looking 10-plus years out.”
–Shana Rowlette, CFO, Mann Lake Bee & Ag Supply
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