Productivity & Collaboration

NomNomNow customers get their paws on personalized pet food with help from Chrome Enterprise and G Suite

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Editor’s note: NomNomNow delivers millions of fresh, personalized meals each month for pets in the United States. Today, we hear from Lynn Hubbard and Dan Massey, who run operations and data, product and engineering for NomNomNow, respectively. Together, they discuss how cloud-based tools, like Chromebooks and G Suite, help speed up their manufacturing process to create pet-tastic meals more efficiently.

While hungry cats and dogs are waiting for fresh NomNomNow meals, we’re working hard at our California and Tennessee plants to fill orders for recipes like “Heartland Beef Mash” or “Flavorful Fish Feast.” Because we make pet meals fresh all day and ship them out as quickly as we can, the success of our business rests on the quality and speed of our manufacturing process. 

At every step in our production line, we rely on Google Cloud tools to help us push out information to our frontline workers so they can do their best work. Without tools like Acer Chromebooks, G Suite or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the barrier to entry for our company would have been much higher: our manufacturing processes would require more investment in hardware and software, we’d need more worker training, and we’d spend more time developing custom applications. Here is a glimpse at how the cloud helps us throughout our manufacturing process.

IT and operation teams: collaborating to personalize pet cuisine
Before customers ever receive their pet food selection, we ask them to fill out a profile online with their pet’s name, age, weight, and breed, so we can customize meal portions. Based on these details, we’re able to make NomNomNow’s personalized customer experience possible. 

Personalizing pet orders requires a constant stream of information between our kitchen, packing and inventory teams. Our IT and operations teams partner closely to provide info, like flavors or portion requirements, to workers during every phase of meal prep and packing. To do this, we tested Chromebooks and G Suite, a web-based productivity system. This helped us develop a scalable process to serve our growing customer base. It also helped us pivot our technology on the production floor from paper to digital.

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The plant management team: recording and predicting inventory
Next up, actual pet food production. The production process all starts with plant managers who confirm that we have enough ingredients for our coming week’s orders. We use Google Sheets to collect back-end order information—and since Sheets are saved automatically in the cloud, we all work off of the same spreadsheet data, no matter which department or location we’re in. 

This data informs exactly how much food and packaging material is needed for an order. It also helps us compare the amount of inventory we have in our kitchens to the predicted sales inventory, so that we can plan properly for customers. Thanks to Sheets, we can skip building specialized apps to track production—one less expense.

The kitchen team: making tasty meals
After calculating the orders needed, we can create the meals. In our two plant kitchens, our staff of 75 don’t need to use individual computers. They can log in to any available Chromebook to look up recipes stored in Google Drive and figure out the correct ratio of, say, sweet potatoes to chicken in the Chicken Chow-Wow recipe. Employees also add data to production spreadsheets in real-time right from the kitchen floor using a shareable Chromebook, like how many batches they make and how quickly they complete a job. This helps us keep track of inventory more accurately and optimize production. 

Chromebooks are a scalable and cost-effective solution to help our teams collaborate. We don’t have to worry that we’re looking at old recipes or spreadsheets because shared files stay up to date within the cloud. Plus, Chrome OS updates automatically so we’re never operating with outdated software—we can cross antivirus checks and admin permissions off IT’s to-do list because it’s secure by design. It’s just a smarter way for us to work.

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The packing and inventory teams: food’s on the way
With the recipes completed, next up is packaging and delivering to customers. Our packers use Google Drive on Chromebooks to match customer orders to the list of our 75 product SKUs, and reduce batches to appropriate proportions based on each pet’s age, weight, and breed. Then our inventory teams jump on the Chromebooks to record every food package going out for delivery in Sheets. Those records tell us how much raw material we used to get the orders out, so our plant managers can order more for the next round of batches and orders. It’s a perfect loop. And for an extra personal touch, every NomNomNow shipment gets a packing slip with the pet’s name and food details. We generate these with custom software in GCP and print them via USB and Chromebooks.

Filling orders fast to feed hungry pets
With Chromebooks and G Suite, we can manage our business at the rate that our orders come in, which is quite frequent these days. We’ve even built a custom app using Google Cloud Platform to help people curb their pets’ cravings right away. 

Delivering healthy, fresh pet food at scale to our customers is our number-one priority, and cloud-based tools help us do it efficiently. Across the country, pets and their empty bowls are counting on us.