Cascade Meats replaces a legacy solution to unlock 25% year-over-year growth.
Cascade Meats drives value for customers & vendors through commitment to detailed yet transparent invoicing. Growth was limited by a legacy purchasing & billing platform that couldn’t keep up with their scaling business.
They partnered with Steelhead Software to build a custom web application that manages their complex fees & storage charges. The end result empowers just a handful of employees to manage storage charges for 20 million units of inventory and over 5,000 annual transactions. The new solution supported Cascade Meats through four straight years of 25% YOY growth and is still in use today.
Sally Clipfell, Controller and 29 year veteran of Cascade Meats served as the chief stakeholder and client partner for this project.
Founded in 1989, Cascade Meats is a premium meat product broker based in Woodburn, Oregon. They’ve earned their reputation by matching the raw material needs of food manufacturers & distributors with products in the meat packing industry throughout the United States.
Entity Framework Core 6
Quickbooks Online Accounting API
Stability, security, and performance are all extremely important when building software a business can depend on. The project hinged on a number of key technical requirements:
The application had to work on multiple devices
The application should be accessible via the internet outside the corporate firewall
The application had to last for 10+ years with regular maintenance
With those in mind, the Steelhead team decided to use well supported, industry standard technology for the tech stack to build a best in class web application:
Angular was chosen for the front-end due to its popularity among open source developers, its strong ecosystem, and long term support from technology giants such as Google
By utilizing Microsoft’s industry leading .NET Core back-end, Steelhead ensured the API could be supported well past the 10-year mark with regular updates and safe migration paths
The architecture includes a highly dynamic and intuitive user interface
A secure and performant API connects the UI to a SQL database
Secure cloud hosting with Microsoft Azure allow employees to work from anywhere
Cascade Meats was using a legacy software solution to manage their procurement, sales, storage billing, and commission reports. Due to the rapid turnover of their inventory, they utilize a network of cold storage facilities and a complex rate system to ensure customers are billed fairly.
As the business scaled, they realized their software wasn’t moving forward with them. “We had to hire more staff to execute the same processes because our software was so manual.” With 20 million inventory units and invoices ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, success was quickly overwhelming their existing toolset.
“There were things we just dreaded having to do. Every month I would think, ‘Oh god, isn’t there any other way we can do this?”
Reliability was also a concern given the age of their current solution. “We were afraid for years that our app would go down and we’d lose everything,” Sally said. Because they were using a locally hosted Windows app, any Windows update could bring the app down for days at a time. For Sally, that meant stress and the potential for lost revenue.
After carefully selecting the right partner, Cascade Meats built a custom web application from the ground up. Leveraging a maintainable tech stack, the new tool streamlined purchase orders, sales, storage calculations, and reporting. It also features an integration with QuickBooks Online for seamless accounting.
Between 2019 and 2022, Cascade Meats saw their transaction volume increase 25% YOY. Their new software solution scaled with them, bypassing the need to add headcount. “We did 5,200 transactions last year, and the entirety of that was managed by two individuals,” Sally highlighted.
“One monthly storage invoice in particular was so complex it took a single employee two days to complete; now it takes ten minutes.”
Sally took the opportunity to build more collaboration into the platform. Employees at all levels can access key information on their own. Executives love the product sales report. The Schedules of Deliveries overview is a critical part of the warehouse manager’s workflow.
When asked what advice Sally has for people considering custom software, she highlighted the importance of staying involved. “Do your homework! It’s important to take advantage of the demo and feedback process.”
Sally also appreciates the timely support she receives if an urgent issue arises.
Finally, she underscored the value of custom software when it comes to growing pains. “Enhancements have been seamless. We’re in control…It’s exactly what we need, and that’s it.”
Co-Founder & Principal Developer, Steelhead Software