Case Study – Natural Balance Foods

Those Nãkd bars you love come from Natural Balance Foods and the computer systems behind the popular brand are managed by Positive Computing and in this case study, Greg Combs who co-founded the booming business with his brother Jamie talks about working with leading IT services provider Positive Computing.

We first heard about Positive Computing when we hired a new salesman who had worked at Doves Farm and had a good experience with the firm. It just so happened we were looking so I called the finance director over at Doves Farm and he too gave a good reference, so I interviewed Julian Lewis, liked his approach to the business, signed up there and then.

It was three years ago and we were trying to treble our sales and had a classic problem. We had a very friendly relationship with another company one of our directors owned so we got to share his full time IT person. This worked fine for a couple of years but both businesses were growing quickly and his heart was in the other company and our IT issues were often a secondary burden. When you are trying to grow things quickly, efficiently and timely… it just doesn’t work. We needed a shift from a part time IT person who we were sort of getting favours from to a properly professional company, well referred and with experience in the PC and Apple worlds..

Julian was the answer to that problem and he and his team at Positive Computing have been terrific.

Right away we upgraded a bunch of things we were doing, ditched a bunch of problems and then we had our proper channels to submit a service problem in to their system and we then knew we would get onto their next available schedule to fix it and become more efficient.Julian was the answer to that problem and he and his team at Positive Computing have been terrific. Naturally I recommend Positive Computing all the time, they have really helped us be scalable

And a big thing when you are stuck to one IT guy you were limited to what they can do, and what they don’t know. Positive Computing has full PC and Apple experience, and has got a team of people working to keep up to date on every aspect of the fast moving IT world.

We were changing quickly and needed to scale up. We needed a network just for our email and the storage of our documents. We needed remote access. We wanted to implement a new ERP system capable of integrating with EDI. We had to set up social media management. We needed Twitter and all these other things to work. If only I had known, I would have brought them on a year earlier.

Now we have a professional group that can fix our problems. So a lot of our problems that had been lingering with us for three and six months were starting to get fixed properly and quickly.

We are so much more efficient now. The first thing they really did was to help our ERP system get implemented promptly. That was a big deal. We were running with spreadsheets and word documents and sharing all sorts of goofy things until we had a proper ERP system. The efficiency of the ERP system really allowed us to grow. If we hadn’t of had that we were still stuck with our old way of spreadsheets things would just be a lot more complicated as we grew.

We’ve been growing at 60% plus a year since launch nine years ago and so high growth for us was adding on customers and adding EDI so grocery stores can order form us directly. Technical problems can come from that like where a national grocery chain has placed a big order with us and we can’t get it out of the computer system. We are a group of passionate Foodies and not a bunch of IT guys!

Three years ago we couldn’t have afforded to have a full time IT professional in-house. Even though we now could, we are going to keep Positive Computing because our productive history and the important fact that they are working to stay abreast of the dynamic changes in the IT industry. Better, just seems more advantageous to Natural Balance Foods, and allows to focus on what we need to do to grow the business.

Positive Computing has really helped us scale up our business. The system doesn’t care if a purchase order is for 1,000 bars or 10,000 bars. We can process the order in the same way. We suspected our health food and grocery store distribution would grow and now with the ERP system and IT stuff working well we have a very scalable infrastructure to support our expansion.

Naturally I recommend Positive Computing all the time. I often rub shoulders with Operations guys like me in the food business and one of the discussions is: ‘How are you keeping up with your IT needs?’ I am very public about it: “Call Positive Computing! They are doing a great job for us and highly recommended.

I hope Julian has already gotten a new customer or two from us!

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