Recently I had the pleasure of hosting a podcast with Paula Muesse, COO and CFO of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, a small, organic, fair-trade, tea company based in California, and Ursula Ringham from SAP. We talked about some of the business challenges Zhena’s faces and how the company’s ERP solution helped spur growth and digital transformation.
Small but complex business
Zhena’s has grown from one person (Zhena Muzyka) selling hand packed tea from a cart, into a thriving small business that puts quality, sustainability, and fair trade first. And although the company is small its business is complex.
For starters, tea isn’t grown in the United States, so Zhena’s has to maintain and import inventory from multiple warehouses around the world. Some of their tea blends have up to fourteen ingredients, and each one has a different lead time. That makes demand planning difficult. In addition, the FDA and US Customs require designated ingredients be traced and treated a certain way to comply with regulations.
Being organic and fair trade also makes things more complicated. Zhena’s has to pass an annual organic compliance audit for all products and processing facilities. And all products need to be traceable back to the farms where the tea was grown and picked to ensure the workers (mostly women) are paid fair wages.
Prior to implementing its new ERP system, Zhena’s was using a mix of tools like QuickBooks, Excel, and paper to manage the business. But to sustain growth and ensure future success, the company had to make some changes. Zhena’s needed an integrated software solution that could handle all facets of the business. It needed a tool that could help with cost control and profitability analysis and facilitate complex reporting and regulatory requirements.
The SAP Business ByDesign solution was the perfect choice. The cloud-based solution reduced both business and IT costs, simplified processes from demand planning to accounting, and enabled mobile access and real-time reporting.
Check out the podcast to hear more about how Zhena’s successfully transformed its business by moving to SAP Business ByDesign.
Photo credit: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea