How Laird Superfood fuels sustainable company growth

Laird Superfood turned to the Smartsheet platform to keep sales, manufacturing, sourcing, and development in sync.

Industry

  • Retail

Organization Size

  • Medium (50 - 999 employees)

Region

  • North America

Use Cases

  • Automation Features
  • Collaboration
  • Project Visibility

Laird Superfood Customer Story

The company’s plant-based products have made a splash in the market, with explosive sales growth that shows no signs of slowing down. For that reason, Laird Superfood turned to the Smartsheet platform to keep sales, manufacturing, sourcing, and development in sync.

The Smartsheet platform is so intuitive that it gets people excited because you are solving problems... We’re accelerating our understanding very quickly and plugging in all these types of procedures that are going to help us really be more efficient. It’s happening naturally.

Luan Pham, Chief Marketing Officer, Laird Superfood

Laird Hamilton used to rely on coffee to fuel his big-wave surfing sessions, but found that the energy and focus he got from a cup faded in about an hour and a half — far short of the four to six hours he needed to be active in the ocean. His belief that there was a better way to keep himself going led him to develop the Laird Superfood line of functional nutrition products, including coffee creamers, coconut waters, and powdered beverage mixes.

The company’s plant-based products have made a splash in the market, with explosive sales growth that shows no signs of slowing down. For that reason, Laird Superfood turned to the Smartsheet platform to keep sales, manufacturing, sourcing, and development in sync.

Laird Superfood
Photo Courtesy of Laird Superfood

 

When Luan Pham joined Laird Superfood as chief marketing officer, there were fewer than 10 employees. Just two years later, headcount is at 110 and rising. Pham’s job has grown too, encompassing sales, revenue, and brand management as well as marketing. Just last year he logged 200,000 air miles on nearly 100 flights for company business. He’s excited to put in the time to help grow the company, but determined to make sure it’s as sustainable as the natural ingredients they use to make their products.

“Our goal is growth, but it’s calculated, strategic, managed growth,” Pham says. “If we can’t deliver, that’s a sale that I don’t want. We want to make sure that a big order doesn’t come through and take out all of our supplies because we’re not calculating the supplies. They come from all over the world because we source the best ingredients, so we’ve got to make sure that every step of the way, we’re calculating and forecasting enough inventory to supply the demand but also account for anywhere from 10% to 20% growth at any time. That’s the kind of thing that keeps us up at night.”

Coordinating partners across the world

In addition to the challenges posed by rapid growth, Laird Superfood was finding it difficult to manage effective communication across teams and with external partners and vendors. Ingredients come from a variety of global locations including Hawaii, Iceland, and Peru.

Retailers across the U.S. and partners in Canada and Australia are stocking the company’s product lines, and deals are in process to enter markets in South America, Europe, and Asia. And Luan is not the only employee spending a significant amount of time on the road.

Smartsheet provides a single source of accurate, real-time data that Laird Superfood staff can access from anywhere to drive product marketing, keep the manufacturing and logistics teams up to date, manage supplies and scheduling, and plan for the needs of the future.

Laird Superfood
Photo Courtesy of Laird Superfood

 

Better visibility and communication

Smartsheet helps Laird Superfood fuel its business growth with data transparency, connecting business teams with the information they need to plan their next steps and understand how their work fits into the whole. The platform simplifies access to information, opens lines of communication, and enables accountability, all of which adds up to more efficient operations and better productivity.

With Smartsheet dashboards, Pham and other team leaders can see a high-level view of important data at a glance, and click through to get details on the most pressing initiatives or potential problem areas. Pham estimates that he saves an hour or more each day that used to be spent fielding questions from colleagues, who can now go straight to the source for the information they need.

The graphic design team also gets the information it needs through forms. Requests for sales collateral and package design now come to the graphic design team through a centralized form that helps designers assess and prioritize each project, and follow up for additional details.

Whenever new information is added to sheets, Pham gets new notifications triggered by automated alerts. This way, he can make sure he brings the most current and accurate insights and questions into customer and partner meetings. 

And using the Smartsheet mobile app has given employees the ability to check project status and enter key updates from anywhere, which is even more useful for road warriors like Pham.

“One of the things that I love about the Smartsheet platform is getting alerts,” Pham says. “Someone added new data, and I can decide to pick up the phone to talk to that person or respond back through the platform. When I travel and I’m in meetings all day, I can check it in an Uber ride to the next call and quickly get a snapshot. Then I have the latest real-time information that I can articulate in a meeting, and that’s an advantage.”

For brand activation staff who may be visiting a long list of retail stores during a day, mobile access lets them document each store visit and flag any customer requests or feedback in real time.

As the company grows, utilizing project frameworks through Smartsheet provides a model that Laird Superfood can use to design efficient business processes and procedures from the ground up. That also helps keep products affordable to as many customers as possible.

“The Smartsheet platform is so intuitive that it gets people excited because you are solving problems,” Pham says. “We’re accelerating our understanding very quickly and plugging in all these types of procedures that are going to help us really be more efficient. It’s happening naturally.”

Building a platform that lasts for generations

“Our main goal is to make these types of products available for people at all socioeconomic levels,” Pham says. “Our functional coffees are 70 cents a serving and they’ll crush any $5 coffee you put in front of it. That’s our mission, really, better food for a better you.”

To get the most out of their system, Pham and his colleagues take full advantage of the resources that Smartsheet has to offer. They brainstorm questions together and then dig through the online videos and tutorials to find answers; they bombard their customer success partners with questions and requests; they go to the ENGAGE conference and absorb as much training as possible.

These tactics enable more of their employees to dream up ideas for solving problems and powering new capabilities, which they share widely both within the company and with partners and vendors who can benefit as well.

“We use the word ohana a lot; ohana is family,” Pham says. “It’s the act of sharing, which is a Hawaiian staple. And anyone that’s in our universe, whether you are a client, a partner, a fellow colleague, you are our ohana. We take care of our family, and so that’s the way we approach our business. It’s not a journey to build a company and flip it in three years. This is about building a platform and then making it last for generations to come.”

Laird Superfood
Photo Courtesy of Laird Superfood