Tillamook County Creamery Association is a farmer-owned cooperative based in Tillamook, Ore. Founded in 1909, Tillamook is owned by almost 80 farming families and is known for their internationally recognized cheese, as well as ice cream, yogurt, cream cheese spreads, sour cream and butter.
Scalable systems keep the 112-year-old dairy co-op aligned to changing times
With roots stretching back to 1909, Tillamook has maintained its respected brand by caring for the land and cows that make milk and by continually innovating how it brings its fresh dairy products to market. These commitments have helped the co-operative not just survive but also thrive in a changing world.
Sometimes the world changes slowly, such as when consumer demand began to drop for products derived from cow’s milk after the introduction of such alternatives as almond and oat milk. Other times, changes come on suddenly, as in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic quickly drove up demand for fresh groceries as people hunkered down at home.
Tillamook has been able to respond to challenges like these because of digital transformation, a process the dairy's consumer packaged goods' division started when it decided to grow from a regional to a national brand as a result of the increasing demand for cow’s milk dairy products. Due to the incredible demand and fandom for Tillamook’s premium dairy products, they wanted to find ways to connect more people to their products nationally.
To support the expansion, Tillamook replaced its legacy applications with a modern system designed specifically for dairy operations. The co-op went from operating with multiple spreadsheets and an outdated, heavily customized system to having just one version of the truth in an integrated cloud platform. This helped improve access to information for decisions and visibility to inventory, which are crucial to cost-effectively fulfilling demand on a national scale and during demand volatility.
The new system helps in other key areas, including allowing the co-op to more easily enter new channels and markets to attract new customers. An example is the addition of new third-party logistics storage and co-packers, which extends Tillamook’s supply chain to serve customers all over the United States.
Accelerating digital transformation
To achieve benefits faster and mitigate risk, Tillamook partnered with RSM to accelerate its digital transformation, which included implementation of cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 and RSM solutions designed specifically for dairies. It was this new system that enabled remote workers to securely access the co-op’s ERP system from home and use automated processes to manage the unexpected spike in demand during pandemic sheltering.
The implementation also set the foundation for streamlined back-office processing, a necessity for taking the brand from regional to national. Tillamook’s executive team knew that to cost-effectively handle the financial-processing requirements of a national brand in the highly regulated dairy industry, the company would need to address a number of existing shortcomings: a lack of controls and real-time reporting on dairy financials, manual processes that managed inventory and production, and limited visibility into operations.