The Harris family has been raising livestock on pasture for 151 years. Building on farm processing abattoirs brought on a steep education curve that we are still riding. When the red meat processing plant opened, we had two customers: Whole Foods Market and Publix Supermarket. We were, and are still grateful, for these grocery relationships, as they gave us the volume we needed to operate our processing abattoir. Whole Foods bought whole carcasses and Publix bought ground beef, which made keeping track of inventory pretty simple. We had two skus, and sold 100% of what we processed by the week’s end.
Over the past 5 years, we have worked hard to diversify our customer base. We have welcomed several new wholesale distributors, direct chef and market relationships, and focused much effort on our online store. Because of this, we have been successful at diversifying our relationships and made several new friends.
This process was not without blood, sweat and tears. We incorporated an ERP system 2014, which allowed us to keep Payroll, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Pricing, Orders, Invoicing, and finally Inventory. August 10th, we “flipped the inventory switch” and we are now getting really great data from our sales. We are able to make good management decisions about what we have, what we don’t have, and how to best break down the animals we butcher.
We now stock over 250 skus in our frozen inventory, and process and sell about another 250 fresh skus each week. Launching an inventory program, while operating a business moving 100 miles per hour has been a challenge. It’s been a constant battle of procedure, paper trails and discovery, but...we are very proud of the progress we have made.
We could not be more proud of the White Oak Pastures staff, who ate this beast one bite at a time. This was a true team effort, which challenged, and continues to challenge, each point in the order fulfillment process.
So, the next time you open up that White Oak Pastures cooler full of meat and poultry, know that it took a team of cowboys, butchers, accountants, photographers, inventory staff, pickers and packers, customer service members and then a few to get it to your door. We couldn’t be more proud of the work we put into our products, and we are grateful for those who support us.