Stephen Wolford: Snackwise

Snackwise is a research-based rating system developed by the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children's Hospital for middle and high school students to use for calculating nutrient density in snack foods offered in vending machines and á la carte items.

The Challenge

After struggling for two years to start their CPG wholesale distribution company, Snackwise was poised for unprecedented growth. They had an extraordinary service philosophy and culture resulting in phenomenal client retention. Acquiring new clients would not be a problem except that leadership was overwhelmed with plugging all the holes in logistics and data management, and had abandoned sales efforts. Additionally, they had maxed out capacity at their existing facilities and infrastructure and operations were breaking down under the current volume. My challenge as the interim CFO/CIO was to increase working capital and execute on a company-wide rebuilding to support a 200 percent growth target within a six-month period.

My Role

Interim CFO and CIO

My role focused on working with the president and leadership team of Snackwise to assess both their current financial position and operational resources that were available to support the growth target. After a thorough quantitative and qualitative assessment, I developed a strategy and roadmap for enabling the company to execute on growth targets. The roadmap called for the acquisition and buildout of a new fulfillment center, development of standardized and compliant operating procedures, and the implementation of a new technology infrastructure to capitalize on the efficiencies driven by these investments.

The Work

Comprehensive assessment of facilities, equipment, personnel, and IT resources and gap analysis relative to a 4X growth factor (2X in first six months).  

Define the strategic plan and roadmap for:

  • A new fulfillment center layout and inventory handling flow.
  • Updating organization-wide operating procedures and employee training, and establishing quality assurance processes.
  • The design and implementation of mobile point-of-sale (POS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and reporting and analytics technologies.
  • Restructuring leadership roles and responsibilities.
  • Restructuring debt obligations and engaging new capital sources to support growth initiatives.
The Outcome

After completing the work within the first four months, Snackwise realized 4X revenue growth in top line revenue within the first six months. Further improvements to inventory management and quality assurance allowed for a revised target of 8X revenue growth within one year of the project’s start. Snackwise hit that mark after 11 months while also improving net margin by 70 percent.

Snackwise Leads Market In NorCal Corporate Free Vend

Snackwise’s approach to customer service was something very special; a real lesson in how taking care of your customers sets you up for huge success.  We helped them to keep doing what they do best while building extraordinary economic value.

––Stephen Wolford, Interim CFO and CIO