Dandelion Chocolate Website
Dandelion Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in San Francisco’s Mission District. We make chocolate from only two ingredients, cocoa beans and cane sugar, and travel to origins as often as we can to build good, trusting relationships with the producers who grow and ferment the beans we buy. The journey a bean takes to become a bar (or experience, gift, or hot chocolate) involves careful planning and tracking that is almost inevitably accompanied by surprises: containers fall off of ships, bar paper arrives in the wrong color, a surprise monsoon delays a new machine from Japan, or ribbon set aside for the holidays was accidentally packed into one of four pallets headed to offsite storage. Our small but mighty team looks to our Inventory Control Manager to ensure our teams, shelves, and spaces are safe, stocked, organized, and ready to make world-class chocolate, host tours and classes, and warmly welcome guests each day.
About the Role
You are the go-to person at the hub of all business operations – production, receiving, retail, facilities, and our online store with oversight of finished goods, internal supplies, offsite refrigeration, a 3PL offsite warehouse, and Shopify inventory – ensuring we don’t sell what we don’t have, we continuously sell what we have, and we don’t say an item is out of stock when it is readily available. You work across multiple systems (SkuLabs, Square, Shopify, ShipStation, remote warehouse inventory systems, lot tracking, etc) to provide a snapshot of our daily ATP (available-to-promise) with reliable numbers that drive our financials.
A Day in the Life
Your day begins early, lifting the roll-up door for the usual morning activities: signing for UPS/FedEx deliveries, double-checking pastry counts from the kitchen, receiving truffles from a new collaborator, and straightening out an inventory snafu with the packaging team. With the morning’s inventory squared away, you get a head start on two new product releases going out weekly. You double-check the SKU numbers with Finance, ask the Product Managers to provide dimensions so you can have a case of cartons ready for warehousing, and make sure you know the Inventory Balance On-Hand counts, you’ll receive the new inventory systematically, so we have the inventory ready for the launch. You’re keeping an eye on the bi-weekly newsletter, double-checking the Shopify system to catch any mistaken out-of-stock items. In the afternoon, you receive email alerts that the cafe’s cups and lids backstock are running low, so you ask the team to do a quick inventory check - they report that the Las Vegas store has been using a different sized cup when they reopened, so the inventory is correct but you need to replan when the supplies are ordered. You wrap up the day meeting with the Fulfillment team to make sure their day went smoothly, double-checking that the warehouse is clean, items are stored safely, and there are clear walkways for tomorrow’s activities.
You love systems, organization, and lean in to reconciling uncertainty (e.g. where does this box go, when will the port open, how many cacao paperclips do we have from last year, why did our collaborator’s ingredient list change). When you don’t have the answers, you will pick up the phone, drive to the facility, or put together a spreadsheet to figure it out. You enjoy working with your hands and having an opportunity to leave your desk to oversee a well-organized warehouse with labeling, space planning, and the right items ready to be picked each day. Teamwork, camaraderie, and a little humor when nothing ever quite goes to plan will serve you well in an ever-changing environment like Dandelion.
- Daily warehouse operations: Regularly check in with external vendors, chocolate makers, retail staff, product managers, product makers, program managers, and other team members to ensure that the team what they need to make chocolate, our retail shelves are stocked, the cafés supplies are ordered well in advance of the Q4 holidays, the facilities team knows where to find necessary filters and light bulbs, the product managers have the right SKUs when transitioning to a new chocolate bar harvest year, and that the warehouse is stocked but not overstocked with forgotten supplies or goods likely to become expired before being put to use. Set the daily schedule with the team based upon expected deliveries, vendor visits, product launches, and company events. Maintain a safe, clean, well-maintained workspace for the team and goods. Use proper safety protocols and assistance tools to lift more than 50 lbs or use a forklift.
- Post-covid inventory: In April 2020, we pivoted away from retail while spinning up online and delivery service in days, depending upon our factory spaces to double as make-shift warehouse spaces. At the beginning of 2021, we moved from a temporary warehouse to a permanent warehouse location in the Mission District, moving much of our inventory to an offsite 3pl facility. While we’ve started to stabilize our warehouse operations, one of your primary goals in the first six months will be reducing our offsite inventory, helping us save thousands of dollars each month.
- Inventory and counting: Understand the basic needs, roles, and benefits of our inventory (e.g. raw materials, chocolate bars, finished gifts, facility supplies, machine components, spare parts, chocolate experience class supplies) to determine space needs, reduce breakage and waste, and make items easy to retrieve. Develop cycle counting best practices to ensure that our reports and onhand inventory are in sync, without discrepancies or surprises. Label cases and racks according to predetermined aisle and bin locations. Help mitigate impact from late deliveries, vendor delays, quality issues, and incorrect deliveries. Monitor best-by dates in stock to ensure that food items with expiration dates are being sold at an appropriate pace to avoid items being Ensure that we are not carrying inventory for items that are no longer needed (i.e. tablecloths from a class that is no longer available, retail signs for a product no longer in stock, a mislabeled box of caramels from a collaborator) while also maintaining spare parts for years for a key part of our tempering line or roaster just in case.
- Analytics and reporting: Determine par levels, set stock notifications, examine the previous season’s reports to guide inventory decisions, strategize how much to have onhand based upon vendor minimum or quantity and case sizes so that teams maintain their individual SLAs and financial goals without worrying about supply chain or inventory concerns. Send regular reports to the management and finance team with key metrics and inventory reports to answer what, where, and how much we have of any item as well as the associated administrative costs for receiving and handling items. As prudent, automate ordering and reports to allow time for proactive activities and to anticipate future scaling.
- Forecasting and planning: The winter season brings lots of high-demand, with potentially 50-60% of our revenue being realized in a few December weeks. Throughout the year, work with our forecasting team to set a strategy for having the volume and variety of chocolate bars on hand to avoid being out-of-stock during our busiest season while also not having too much holiday-specific product in January.
- Internal tools: Working with the Director of Warehouse Operations, evaluate and implement new tools as necessary to automate ordering, counting, and reports so that our team members’ time is being used efficiently and maximizes their talents.
- Quality Assurance: Check, count, and, when necessary, taste-test received goods, especially collaborators who send us chocolate-covered almonds or truffles where we want to ensure consistent top-notch quality. When we receive overseas goods, open cartons and record overall quality before storing.
- Vendor Relationships: We have an extensive network of vendors and collaborators, some relationships stretching back ten years. These relationships are one of our most valuable assets and when emergencies arise, we’ve relied upon partner goodwill and rapport for favors and prioritization (e.g. we need more paper bags for a pop-up location). No long-term vendor or relationship will ever operate perfectly so we work together to find mutually-beneficial solutions to preserve valuable, long-term relationships (e.g. giving a collaborator ample heads up when we believe there will be significant change to upcoming reorders).
- Safety: Ensure that all fire evacuation routes are clear, warehouse racks are installed appropriately with earthquakes in mind, you and your team have appropriate forklift training, spaces are well-lit, the warehouse is stocked with appropriate PPE, and items that are handled according to best safety practices.
- Oversee team: When necessary for the future business, hire, mentor, and grow a team of Inventory Associates, balancing workloads, developing individual growth plans, providing regular performance evaluations, setting goals and metrics, and providing ongoing feedback to reach quarterly team objectives.
- Other tasks as necessary
- Warehouse Chops: You’ve worked in environments that prioritize organization, safety, and cleanliness. You are always sure to take care of a stray box or broken glass, rather than leaving it for the next person. You appreciate how important PPE is for all team members. Your prior years of experience mean you have frameworks, experience, and out-of-the-box solutions to draw from when necessary (bonus if you have managed a warehouse in the food industry).
- Team Management: You’ve had experience coaching team members, setting daily routines, and tracking to company-wide goals. From your references, we learn that your previous team members, peers, and managers would want to work with you again (and again and again).
- Team player: you’ll be working with multiple teams and personalities in a professional environment where you will prioritize projects on the fly and let teams know when their projects aren’t the highest priority, “Absolutely, I know where the tablecloths are but the tempering machine went down and I need to get them a spare part first. Is that okay?” Previous experience in a friendly professional environment or in another team-oriented setting will serve you well.
- Proven Vendor Relationship Skills: Our business partners look forward to working with you again (and again and again). You’ve maintained strong, multi-year vendor relationships including suppliers, delivery services, and repair workers over many years while also negotiating rates and handling missed expectations.
- Tech Skills: Expertise with spreadsheets, reporting, and presentations including Google Suite. Previous technical know-how with the ability to research and pick up new tools like Shopify, PO and SKU systems, Square, and knowing how to research tools to look for new capabilities and functions that will help us scale. Tier 1 Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) experience is a plus.
- Physical Strength: Lift 30-45 pounds regularly. We operate from multiple locations in San Francisco. You might walk between locations as much as 2-3 times/day which is a 7-8 block walk – it’s a nice opportunity for a breath of air.
- Ability to Travel: Whether you’re evaluating a new machine or scoping out a warehouse location, this role may involve occasional travel outside of the Bay Area.
- Spanish: While not a formal requirement, conversational Spanish skills are a plus.
- Authorized to work in the U.S.
The benefits and perks continue beyond a robust chocolate education. Dandelion Chocolate constantly invests in our people and culture. All team members receive heavily subsidized medical, vision, and dental benefits as well as the option to enroll in our 401k program. All team members receive paid vacation time, holiday pay, and paid sick time. In addition, our team members enjoy commuter benefits, FSAs, chocolate tasting opportunities, and a range of opportunities to grow and develop within the company.
Cover letter Required
Other Application Requirements
Dandelion is invested in team members who take ownership over their role and are interested in contributing in a bigger way with us. You will stand out from the crowd if your resume is accompanied by a cover letter with a few sentences about the best warehouse environment you’ve worked in and why it worked so well. We look forward to hearing from you! In accordance with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records for employment.