Customer Journeys – Choice Organic Teas (Granum)

Nathaniel Mckenzie (4)
  • Company

    Choice Organic Teas (Granum, Inc.)
  • Line of Business

  • Industry

    Wholesale Distribution
  • Headquarters

    Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Revenue

  • Featured Products and Services

    SAP Business One

SAP® Innovations

Analytics Application Cloud Database & Technology

SAP HANA Mobile Rapid Deployment Solution

Choice Organic Teas is committed to great tea, social responsibipty, and environmental sustainabipty. As the company has grown to include more varieties, more employees and more facipties, their back-end systems needed to improve in order to keep up. The company searched for an ERP solution that they could trust to manage their accounting, production, and inventory. After a couple of false starts with disconnected out-of-the-box solutions, basic spreadsheets, redundant processes, and upgrading their physical plant production systems, the company turned to SAP and Softengine to help revamp their reporting and analytic tools.

Customer Snapshot : History

SustainabiliTEA, QualiTEA, ResponsibiliTEA, VarieTEA

1980 - Granum, Inc, started out distributing organic and macrobiotic foods

1989 - With a lack of organic tea in the marketplace, Choice Organic Teas was born, debuting with four certified organic offerings: Green, Ban-cha, Twig, and Oolong teas

1991 - 1992 - Nine new organic teas introduced, including Decaffeinated Earl Grey Tea

1997 - Organic tea pne grew to 19 teas

1998 - Choice Organic Teas began to sell organic tea to the food service industry

2000 - Choice Organic Teas partnered with TransFair USA to launch the first Fair Trade Certified™ tea pne in the US

2003 - Choice Organic Teas began to purchase Green-e Certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset 100 percent of their West Seattle facility's electricity usage through wind generated sources

2004 - Choice Organic Teas wins the Washington State “Governor’s Award” for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Business Practices

2005 - Received the “Seattle’s BEST Award” for sustainable business practices

2005 - More than 70 organic loose leaf and tea bag offerings available

2015 - More than 80% of Choice Organic Tea selections are Fair Trade Certified

A brand of Granum, Inc. of Seattle, Washington, Choice Organic Teas made their debut in 1989 as an outgrowth of the company founder, Blake Rankin’s active involvement in the organic marketplace. As North America’s #1 selling exclusively certified organic tea brand, they have promoted the growth and development of organic agriculture in tea estates worldwide.

Customer Snapshot : Business Model

A Fair Trade Industry Leader


As the first exclusively certified organic tea company in the United States and the first US tea company to introduce Fair Trade Certified™ Teas, Choice Organic Teas has helped to forge new ground in the tea industry since they first started in 1989. Their mission is to provide high quality teas while continuing to lead the industry towards more social and environmental sustainability with thoughtfully produced, innovative products and packaging.

Customer Snapshot : Success Strategy

Dedication to the Environment Drives Their Passion for Everything They Do


A firm belief in organics, with a dedication to ensure the ethical treatment of workers who cultivate tea, and a team of dedicated employees at Choice Organic Teas, has made the company a modern day tea pioneer. Choice Organic Teas works closely with international growers in countries across the world, including China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania to create organic teas known for outstanding character and clarity of flavor. They rely on simple, pure ingredients, strict organic guidelines, and an ethics-driven Fair Trade philosophy.

Choice Organic Teas operates out of a certified organic facility, which means that all product handling and packaging is done in a safe and environmentally friendly manner in accordance with, or exceeding, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organics Program (NOP) regulations and standards. All of their tea packaging material is sourced to be the most environmentally friendly available. They refuse to use PVC in any form, thereby exceeding the United States National Product Standards. Before purchases are made, they utilize a purchasing guideline for raw materials and equipment/supplies that concerns the necessity of the item, product packaging, distance of travel and possibility of return to manufacturer or if it can be recycled at the end of its life.

The Challenge

Cutting Out Waste and Conserving Resources


For a company focused on conservation, it was hard to see time and resources wasted through unreliable back-end systems. Choice Organic Teas realized that a cloud-based solution would save them money on IT and hardware costs and consolidate processes, conserving valuable employee time and eliminating redundancy and errors.

Enter SAP

A Bright Spot at the End of a Long Road Filled with Trial and Error


Choice Organic Teas tried for a long time to get along with spreadsheets and basic accounting systems like Excel, Quicken and Quickbooks, as well as an ERP solution, but there were just too many redundancies in their processes and the margin of error was too high. Redundant processes led to the need for additional personnel to enter, mine, and correct the data. Eventually, management concluded that a cloud-based ERP solution would reduce hardware and IT costs, and they realized that SAP Business One was the way to go.

SAP Business One’s reputation in the food and beverage industry was already well-known at the company. Choice Organic Teas selected Softengine, an SAP Gold Partner out of Woodland Hills, California, for their successful track record of SAP Business One installations in the food and beverage industry.

Enter SAP : The SAP Experience

Designing a System That Tracks Inventory from Ingredients to Sales Performance


Softengine examined Choice Organic Teas’ business practices carefully and designed a solution to fully automate the company’s inventory, production, and accounting processes. Not only could their new system accurately track all ingredients used in their single origin teas and blends, and help maintain inventory levels in order to keep up with demand for the more than 200 SKU’s the company sells, it was also able to keep track of performance of fair-trade vs. non-fair-trade teas, an important metric for the company and their customers.

Better Business : Running Better

“Softengine and Choice Organic Teas were able to work together harmoniously to establish a blueprint for implementation, training, and application. We feel like we are in great hands with Softengine and the SAP Business One system they installed.”
— Ray Lacorte, VP of Operations


Better Business : Benefits

Repable, Accurate, Timely, Finally!


The new system makes management decisions a lot easier with data from raw ingredients all the way through counting how quickly boxes fly off the store shelves into customers’ homes. Reports from receiving, product fulfillment, shipping, and invoicing have all improved considerably and the redundancies are finally a thing of the past.

Better Business : Today

Saving Time and Optimizing Resources

With redundancies and error-prone systems behind them, the company is now able to move forward with their goals.


“We feel like we are in great hands with Softengine and the SAP Business One system they installed. It’s nice to finally put all those unreliable ERP systems and redundant procedures in the rear-view mirror.”
— Ray Lacorte, VP of Operations

Journey Ahead

“We have barely scratched the surface of what SAP Business One can offer us and we plan to utilize much more of its functionality over time.”
– Ray Lacorte, VP of Operations