Founded in Portland, OR in 2008, Clive Coffee sells luxury home espresso machines and accessories, operates a personalized coffee subscription service, and runs a virtual coffee school. The 45 person staff strives to provide the equipment and knowledge to help consumers attain the perfect barista experience at home.
Initially, the company sold its espresso machines through its showroom and in-person sales in Portland, Oregon as well as through its website. Later, Clive Coffee began offering personalized coffee subscriptions connecting consumers with roasters all over the country when it acquired Mistobox. In 2020, the company launched its Coffee School to help those working from home learn how to become baristas, and adapted its sales efforts to better serve consumers during the pandemic, a move that also included adding a warehouse in Nashville, TN.
“A lot changed for Clive in 2020,” says Amanda Datte, Clive Coffee’s CFO. “Before, we had a showroom and some in-person sales. But now that everybody is working from home and wanting coffee, we’re now 100 percent online and our business has really taken off.”
Home espresso can seem very overwhelming, but Clive Coffee demystifies it, providing education from the moment a customer calls or emails and pulls their first espresso shot.
“As the pandemic hit, people were missing their daily espresso or latte, which really began the search for a home barista set up,” says Emily Sloan, Director of Marketing. “We had to be flexible and pivot quickly. As consumer preferences changed to home espresso, so did their expectations. We had to be equipped and ready to have inventory on hand and be able to ship it to them within the expected two-to-three-day timeline.”
Need to Replace Disconnected Systems
Clive Coffee couldn’t meet those expectations because it used QuickBooks for accounting and bookkeeping, separate inventory software, a different order processing system, and an eCommerce system. None of the systems were connected. “On a monthly basis, we had a laundry list of processes to get the information accurately into our accounting system,” says Datte. “There were lots of checks and balances and lots of reconciliations because we manually inputted data.”
The company didn’t have accurate, up-to-date information or visibility into sales, revenue, inventory, or payment statuses. It would take up to 15 days to close a month, Datte says. “We were growing so fast, and it never felt like we were caught up. As soon as we finished one month, got all the details aligned, got them into QuickBooks, and got our balance sheet up to date, another month had already gone by. It was just a stressful environment.”
Data was similarly messy in the warehouse.
“Before Acumatica, we had an inventory management system, a separate finance system and a separate shipping station,” says Jessica Yutrzenka, Supply Chain and Operations Manager at Clive Coffee. “A lot of our systems were decentralized from an operational standpoint.”
When systems are decentralized, she says, “you spend a lot of time analyzing: Why didn’t one thing talk to the other? We spent a lot of time either making our data look the same in both systems and understanding why it didn’t connect.”
Inventory Hard to Track
As a result, tracking inventory was difficult. “It was really not easy to tell how much we shipped of one product or how many orders were canceled,” says Yutrzenka. “Uncovering what day we shipped a product out on was even challenging to get.”
As transaction volumes increased, the staff realized they couldn’t handle all the manual processes and have multiple siloed systems. “We knew technology could help us grow and become more efficient and so we started looking for an ERP,” Datte says.