Otis Oat M!lk is about to pump up the volume when it opens New Zealand’s first end-to-end ‘plant milk milk plant’ – a factory capable of producing 50 million litres of non-dairy milk per year.
As Otis expands its customer base to fill those 50 million cartons, Upstock is working hard as their trusty sales sidekick.
National sales manager Finn Geoghegan says Upstock hasn’t just streamlined their ordering systems, it's also a shop window for their brand and products.
“Having businesses approach us because they see us in Upstock has been great for sales. We've seen a pick up in inquiries from businesses that maybe we wouldn't have either prospected, or come across before.”
With a lean team of 8 staff, they use Upstock as an additional sales rep. “We're a small team, we don't have a bunch of reps on the road or that much time to be able to go and prospect some of those more niche areas.”
He says Upstock’s brought in business from shared workspaces, early childhood centres and ice cream manufacturers.
“They came from an organic search on Upstock, which the companies were using to search out supplies. We've had quite a few of them reach out to us. And sometimes they've got some interesting kind of projects that they're looking at with alternative dairy. There have been fascinating conversations that wouldn't have happened without that Upstock connection.”
Otis Oat M!lk started in 2019 and now has more than a thousand customers. Having already seen the potential Upstock brings, they know they can scale up with confidence.
“Upstock definitely helps us a lot with our growth plans, particularly the integration with Foodstuffs – it's bringing some of those bigger businesses to us.”
More from our chat with Finn:
You shopped around for an ordering solution for a while. Why did you choose Upstock?
Knowing that it was backed by some of the Xero founders gave us some confidence in what it could be and how it could grow and integrate with some of the systems we have. The Upstock team was great and super helpful. They spent a lot of time with us, explained everything very thoroughly and took on a lot of feedback from us.
You worked with Upstock to refine its Cin7Core (aka DEAR) integration. How was that process? How has having that integration changed your business?
We always wanted to get to the point where we could have a fully integrated customer order system because it's quite a task when you've got hundreds of customers coming from all different channels. We were looking for a solution that would integrate with the inventory management system that we used. At the time, I didn't think there was anything else that would fit the bill in terms of our company size. So we worked alongside Upstock trying to fit all the pieces together and kind of gradually integrating. The major change for us has been efficiency. We've recently gone into what we call 'fully integrated' where orders, as soon as they're accepted, are flowing through the whole system through to our 3PL. It's just removed a lot of double-approval and double-checking. And I think Upstock, in general, has streamlined everything in terms of being able to process orders, as opposed to when we had to email, text or call.
How would you describe your operation?
I'd say A LOT of change. You know, three years ago we were producing very small amounts out of this Christchurch facility and delivering it by van. Then we were producing out of Sweden. Now we're bringing production back to New Zealand so we can increase volume. We’re being ranged in almost all grocery stores in New Zealand, we have hundreds of hospitality doorways and we’re exporting into multiple parts of Asia. Alongside that, we’ve switched pallet configurations, and we've changed our 3PL company. There's always something new happening, and there's always some change to learn how to face, which is exciting, and sometimes stressful.