In 2018, when the leaders of Candy.com spotted a new opportunity in the booming market for fast delivery of fresh food to businesses and consumers, they hopped on it by launching an ambitious new venture called Green Rabbit.
Two years later, Green Rabbit has become a thriving distributor of perishables such as dairy, produce, and bakery goods from 150 manufacturers to customers that include 25 of the top U.S. retailers.
The ingredients were in place for a major business transformation. Candy.com had deep experience as a leading candy and snack distributor, shipping half of all chocolate sold in the U.S. during the warm summer months. It had proprietary technology for cold-chain logistics — shipping perishable and heat-sensitive products — and SQF Level 3 certification, the highest food safety compliance measure in the industry.
The company also had a cloud-based IT infrastructure with the scale and agility needed to power innovation and growth, as detailed in our new Green Rabbit case study. Key pieces are Boomi B2B/EDI Management and NetSuite for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and order management.
“We wouldn’t be anywhere without both Boomi and NetSuite," says Gary Cifatte, chief technology officer at Green Rabbit, now the parent company to Candy.com. "There’s a three-legged stool to our success — our relationship with Boomi, our relationship with NetSuite, and our own proprietary algorithms for shipping temperature-sensitive foods.”
Based in Braintree, Mass., Green Rabbit is a remarkable story of using modern technology to turn a “blue sky" vision into reality. It builds on Candy.com's success in using Boomi and NetSuite as a scalable foundation for one of the most sophisticated B2B shipping and logistics operations in the U.S.
In 2012, Candy.com upgraded from entry level systems to NetSuite. Still, the company faced challenges in efficiently handling rising order volumes. Staff wasted valuable time manually keying orders from its trading partners into NetSuite. Candy.com tried several third-party electronic data interchange services, but these proved too costly and complex.
Instead, CTO Cifatte began searching for an in-house EDI platform. The search ended when he found that Boomi B2B/EDI Management hit the sweet spot. His Boomi implementation went live in 2016 during an intense yet flawless 36-hour switchover — all without a single dropped order or service interruption.
“For anyone who really knows EDI and understands its demands and complexity, switching over to a new system is no small task. The risk to the business is something that keeps you awake at night,” Cifatte says. “There's really no margin for error, because EDI supports overnight shipping for our customers.”
The Boomi Platform has proven fast, reliable, and scalable. And as Cifatte found, EDI connections can be built with Boomi in under two days — far faster than the eight-week estimates he’d received from IT consultants using different tools.
"Thanks to Boomi, we have extreme confidence in our EDI process," Cifatte says. "Boomi also gives us more visibility and control over critical data — it's fast, fluid, and accurate.”
To learn more about how Green Rabbit is innovating and growing with Boomi, read the case study
The Boomi/NetSuite combination proved to be ideal as Candy.com leaders launched Green Rabbit, which grew revenue by 60 percent between 2018 and 2019. Green Rabbit now runs 40 Boomi integrations, one for each of its trading partners, a number that doubled from 2018 to 2019. Today Green Rabbit's Boomi setup covers 155 integration processes.
With order volumes rising, Green Rabbit took advantage of parallel-processing options in both Boomi and NetSuite for additional scalability. Now it's effortlessly handling 5,000 transactions an hour, or 120,000 a day — up from several thousand a day in 2016. And order creation time has been reduced from 45 seconds to less than one second.
“Boomi and NetSuite have handled our growing order volumes when the rubber hits the road,” Cifatte says.
Speed and scale are essential for Green Rabbit as it grows and focuses on rapid one- and two-day delivery from both its main warehouse and 10 microfulfillment centers it has opened across the U.S.
It's paying off. The company's early success attracted a $31 million investment in October 2019 from Guidepost Growth Equity, a private equity firm focused on high-growth technology companies.
“As online grocery and perishable food sales represent one of the fastest-growing segments in ecommerce, major retailers and CPGs [consumer packaged goods companies] are looking to maximize their digital growth strategies,” says Won Park, principal of Guidepost Growth Equity. “We’re excited to partner with Green Rabbit to help them become the cold-chain logistics standard that powers the future of digital food service initiatives.”
Minimizing manual work through Boomi automation is one key to Green Rabbit's success. Cifatte says Boomi helps his company save a whopping 400 to 500 hours of manual work each month. That includes about 250 hours a month of manually processing trading-partner transactions.
And in finance, the company has used Boomi to capture data from suppliers’ Excel invoices, create a cash payment, and reconcile invoices in NetSuite. That eliminated 160 hours a month of manual invoice processing. What was a five-hour exercise for each invoice is now completed in just five minutes with Boomi.
This lets Green Rabbit personnel focus on higher-value tasks, elevating employee satisfaction and improving staff recruitment and retention. That's critical for Green Rabbit, as the company has grown from 100 employees in 2017 to 250 today.
“Eliminating all those hours of manual work challenges our people to be more creative," Cifatte says. "That's a win for everyone."
Watch our short video to hear more from Cifatte about how Boomi and NetSuite are helping Green Rabbit and Candy.com save time and scale quickly to meet demand:
To learn more about how Green Rabbit is innovating and growing with Boomi, read the case study.
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