Founded in 1981, Bernatello’s Pizza, Inc. got its start as a local tavern selling pizzas to area patrons. As its popularity increased, they began selling branded pizzas to local retail establishments. In ’82, the tavern was sold and a manufacturing plant was started with a manual production line of eight employees applying ingredients by hand. Making 500 pizzas was considered a good day. As demand grew so did their production, distribution, and product lines. Today, the small family business has grown into an industry success story producing up to 165,000 pizzas per day and running more than 45 delivery routes, in addition to normal distribution sales. Bernatello’s Pizza has two manufacturing plants and numerous frozen warehouse locations.

Bernatello’s Gets a Bigger Piece of the Pie, Again!

As a family business, flexibility and superior service for their customers has always been a top priority for Bernatello’s. Naturally, flexibility can create many business challenges and needs. In addition, as both a manufacturer and a multi-layer distributor, their software system requirements are uniquely challenging and complex. For some time, Bernatello’s had been operating on a highly customized system that was sufficiently meeting these complex needs. Unfortunately, the developer was eliminating this software platform and Bernatello’s wanted to make the move to a program that would be a better long-term fit. Thankfully, they knew right where to turn.

Bernatello’s had partnered with Business Automation Specialists of MN, Inc., on their last system implementation, and knew that BASM had the expertise necessary to recommend and complete a comprehensive software installation. Together with BASM, it was determined to move Bernatello’s to a completely new accounting software package, Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

A Challenging Mix of Business Ingredients

BASM’s first challenge in moving Bernatello’s to their new system was to reduce the amount of modification needed in their new NAV system, while maintaining at least the same functionality as the old system; and, in some cases, providing more functionality. These modifications in the old system
provided for many automated processes which allowed Bernatello’s to produce substantial product volume with low staff count; a critical component to keeping profit margins while also keeping prices competitive.

Additionally, Bernatello’s has a unique order, delivery and inventory process. Product is sold by 60 salesmen or route drivers. The route drivers are also responsible for deliveries, invoicing on the spot, entering future orders, and occasionally even collecting payment on invoices and setting up new store accounts. All of this information is uploaded to the main system for invoicing, accounts payable, and warehouse management.

Since each driver has their own truck and inventory, the trucks are in essence mini warehouses. When added to the main warehouse, remote storage freezers, and third party warehouses, distribution logistics become very challenging.

As BASM was working through the challenges, and the go-live date drew near, Bernatello’s purchased another manufacturing company. This resulted in unexpected business growth, created significant demands on internal resources, and caused changes to business processes – all in the middle of the implementation.

Despite the uniquely complex and challenging set of circumstances, BASM was able to adjust to meet the needs of this larger, now even more complex company and successfully complete the implementation. Duane Ebert, Controller at Bernatello’s reflects, “There is no doubt that this was a huge task and BASM came through and supported the project to the end.”