Wrike: The Chosen System for Chosen Foods
Founded in 2011, Chosen Foods creates simple ways of experiencing natural culinary wonder using their passion for avocados to inspire a vibrant, healthy lifestyle. In March 2013, the brand extended into numerous Costco Wholesale locations, making its 100%, naturally refined avocado oil accessible to shoppers. Best known as the company to bring avocado oil mainstream, Chosen Foods earned its reputation in the food business as an avocado-centric source for consumers, providing avocado oil-based condiments, oils and sprays, fresh and frozen foods, and guacamole. As a global brand, Chosen Foods brings new, clean food products to its North American and European markets.
for 2020 YOY results
With locations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as a sister company in the Netherlands, the Chosen Foods team totals 100 individuals, all aiming to deliver and develop innovative food products. Though successful in making a name for itself in the clean food market, teams within Chosen Foods’ creative and product development departments faced specific challenges they needed to address, including:
- No system to collaborate and assign work: Teams often ran into difficulties in the intake and approval processes.
- Lack of project transparency and visibility: Teams relied on verbal communication and encountered difficulties using manually updated sheets to attempt to share the status of all projects.
- Inability to stay aligned on goals: Teams struggled to take ownership of work and maintain project accountability due to a disorganized workflow process.
Looking to bring efficiency, clarity, and accountability into their everyday work — all within a tight budget — Chosen Foods turned to Wrike.
“My role focuses on improving processes by making work ownership clear and reducing or eliminating wastes, such as project redundancies, waiting times and risks,” says Jessica Wooding, Kaizen Manager. “After researching what could help us, and sharing the top options with my Director at the time, we found that Wrike’s ability to clearly map out our process with each deliverable outlined, dependency set up and assignment list was best for us.”
Dashboards and custom workflows streamline cluttered workflow
Wrike was first adopted by Chosen Foods’ creative and marketing team and later by the operations and product development team. Before Wrike, tracking a project required everyone to sift through many systems, including emails, in-person meetings or calls, Slack, Excel documents, Evernote, and different project management systems — again and again. “The marketing team had tried Asana in 2015 but quickly grew tired of the difficult-to-find subtasks, lack of dashboard capability and overall structure,” recalls Wooding.
Realizing the different communication streams created too much room for error, uncertainty, and miscommunication, the Chosen Foods team needed easy-to-use tools within one system. They found their solution in Wrike Dashboards and Custom Workflows — two tools Wooding notes the team can’t live without.
Critical for collaboration and teamwork, Wrike Dashboards increased project visibility and allowed users to see who was doing what within certain timelines. Custom Workflows consolidated processes and eliminated waste with automated assignments and status change tracking. For the first time under one system, the team’s projects were easy to hand off or complete, workflow processes were viewable, and responsibilities were clearly organized.
“I was instantly able to remove four hours of meetings a week through the use of shared dashboards,” says Wooding. “I refocused this saved time on providing education opportunities for the team, which improved our process for project initiatives, supported team growth and had more time to focus on producing the best output in our team’s work.”
More teams adopt Wrike under an easy and creative onboarding process
After Wrike’s successful implementation with the creative department and marketing team, Wooding introduced the platform to all the cross-functional employees across five departments who were all involved in product development at Chosen Foods. With so many more people to train, Wooding leveraged her knowledge of Wrike to develop the Wrike Champions training program as a blueprint for the team leads, and created a certificate of completion to recognize trainees’ achievements.
The format is convenient and empowering for remote teams working in different locations and time zones – including outlined training sessions with the timeframes, instructions and links to custom-created video sessions, Wrike Discover courses, and YouTube videos.
In no time, the product development team began using Wrike to track project progress and was able to stop relying on static Excel sheets. They could easily manage the dependencies across teams and deliverables, and they learned how to keep projects moving forward. The upgrade eliminated redundancies and frustrations and ultimately helped teams get more work done by directing saved time and energy towards efficient project completion.
Wrike’s tools create space for efficiency and collaboration
Wrike tools empower teams to work efficiently in ways that align with departments responsibilities. Request forms helped the creative team more effectively gather input from stakeholders using a customizable, easy-to-fill form to record project deliverables. This tool drastically improved the team’s workflow and eliminated the need for a traffic controller, reducing Wooding’s overhead as the manager overseeing the work by 20%. Similarly, the production team increased project visibility and reduced approval times with the transition from paper-form processes to Wrike Blueprints and Custom Workflows features. The teams’ involvement in streamlining their processes allowed them to catch and fix mistakes or redundancies, resulting in increased accountability and ownership as well as reducing risk and duplication.
These additional tools have been game changers in saving Chosen Foods time, money, and energy:
- Adobe Connector – allows seamless transitioning between Adobe programs
- Proofing and Approval – in-system tools that facilitate direct feedback on deliverablesfrom requesters
- Time Tracking – helps identify bottlenecks
“Wrike eliminated the need for a role I had considered adding, a traffic controller, to support our intake and administrative system,” recalls Wooding. “And in 2019, we completed 2,800 unique deliverables and 93 packaging projects with an in-house Creative team of two full-time and one part-time employee for a business with revenues of over $140 million a year.”
Since Wrike’s implementation, Chosen Foods is operating more efficiently as a goal-oriented, transparent, and highly collaborative team. With smoother work processes, as well as more time and energy saved on projects, the team now benefits from a culture where collaboration, accountability, and empathy are seamlessly part of their everyday work.
“We went from having to ask multiple people ‘who does what’ and dig up process documents in hard-to-navigate and separated systems to now being able to clearly see project assignments, project timelines and precise deliverables within those timelines and all in one location,” says Wooding. “It’s night and day. Wrike has improved our ability to plan with improved confidence and has changed how we do business.”