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The Top Line

Chinook Seedery needed to modernize their operation to grow their operation. With Mar-Kov’s food manufacturing software, Chinook Seedery now:

  • Realized almost instant ROI.

  • Digitized their inventory and traceability.

  • Founder & Sales Manager freed up to focus on sales.

  • Generates electronic batch records for all batches.

  • Fully integrated with QuickBooks.

In 24 hours, Mar-Kov put Chinook back in the black, and in just a few months, Mar-Kov helped us transform Chinook and revolutionize the way we manage our business.

— Kraig Schexnayder, COO, Chinook Seedery

Chinook’s Instant Return to Profitiablity with 24 Hour ROI on Mar-Kov’s ERP.


Mark Pettyjohn satisfied his constant craving for a tastier, healthier sunflower seed and in the process, he created Chinook Seedery to give Americans the best sunflower seed experience possible. But to keep selling to Chinook’s sunflower seed-afficionados, Mark had to turn his young company into a sustainable business with consistent profits, increased sales and consistently happy customers.

Mark knew exactly how to make great sunflower seed snacks, but he had more to learn about managing his food manufacturing business. After meeting Kraig Schexnayder, an entrepreneur and systems integrator, Mark was convinced Kraig had the food industry-specific experience Chinook needed. After all, Kraig had just helped Louisiana-based Sno-Balls To Go! grow from $900,000 to $3.8 million in 18 months. Kraig promised Mark he’d “transform” Chinook and Mark believed him. However, Mark was surprised when Kraig told him he couldn’t make that happen without Mar-Kov, an MRP software created by food industry veterans for food manufacturers.


Mar-Kov – A Crash Course in Food Manufacturing


Kraig first turned to Mar-Kov  after being asked to grow Sno-Balls because although he’d successfully run the printing company he’d founded for 25+ years, he was new to the food business. As much as Kraig knew about managing costs and integrating processes to ensure long-term profitability, he immediately recognized batch manufacturing food comes with a specific set of challenges and regulations.

“Mar-Kov gave me a crash course in food manufacturing”

Kraig Schexnayder, COO, Chinook Seedery

“Mar-Kov gave me a crash course in food manufacturing and everything that’s unique to food such as recalls, recipes and what the Mar-Kov data can tell you about your batch processing company,” says Kraig, Chinook’s COO. “Mark’s a true visionary, but Chinook, like Sno-Balls, desperately needed real-time, accurate data on which to base crucial business decisions.”

Mark hired Kraig and implemented Mar-Kov after Kraig explained that together, he and Mar-Kov would deliver an extraordinary 24-hour ROI and a virtually instant return to profitability. Together, Kraig and Mar-Kov replaced the 1.5 part-time administrators that had manually created and handled every single piece of documentation required to run Chinook.

On a daily basis, Kraig relies on Mar-Kov to run Chinook more efficiently and cost effectively. Consumer, retail and distributor orders are used to identify and purchase the raw ingredients required. Those orders are also used to create the production, packaging, order assemblies and shipping schedules as well as all related invoicing. Mar-Kov automatically cascades the data from the initial entries across the system to save time and minimize data input errors. On command, Mar-Kov uploads that data to QuickBooks so that Kraig and the senior managers can drill down for details about vendors, deliveries and more. Mar-Kov is used to help identify business issues that need to be addressed before the impact is  compounded over time.

While customers generally received the correct orders on time, they occasionally arrived late, incomplete, short or without the right mix of SKUs (flavours, 4 or 1.5 ounce). Chinook paid distributors a penalty, up to $100, for every late order, even if the delay was beyond Chinook’s control, for example, the freight company’s truck broke down. Imprecise, late invoices were also an issue and had a negative impact on Chinook’s cash flow.

“Mar-Kov maximizes production and minimizes cleaning to up revenue and cut costs.” – Kraig Schexnayder, COO, Chinook Seedery

“Over time, customers lose faith when you make mistakes and the penalties will add up,” says Kraig. “Chinook’s seeds are unique but we don’t want consumers or retail and distribution customers looking for an alternative. New customers grow our business but repeat business sustains us day to day.”

Mar-Kov frees Mark to focus exclusively on sales, forecasting and cash flow models and gives Kraig the accurate, current data, he needs to manage daily costs and operations.

“Mar-Kov gives us the historical data we need to look back, learn and plan ahead,” says Kraig. “With the paper, the data was there, somewhere, we just couldn’t get to it quickly or easily.”

Over time, Chinook will continue to rely on Mar-Kov’s cost-of-goods reports to help them achieve the margins required for long-term sustainability and if necessary, identify the departments and operations that need extra attention.


Scheduling to Maximize Production


Chinook now has the transparency and visibility needed to efficiently schedule the production of its six flavours. Before Mar-Kov, the company might run up to three flavours daily sacrificing up to three hours of production because it takes at least one hour to clean and remove all seasonings from the equipment between flavours.

“Production generates income and cleaning is a cost – Mar-Kov helps us maximize production and minimize cleaning to increase revenue and reduce costs,” says Kraig.

Chinook’s freight typically accounts for 10 to 30% of total costs and Kraig expects that to drop as he now has the information he needs to make better use of LTL (less than load) and 3PL (third party logistics) providers. Likewise, raw ingredients, 33%of total costs, should fall as Chinook negotiates orders in bulk to benefit from volume discounts.


Replicable Recipes & Total Transparency


Mar-Kov, which first taught Kraig the value of recorded recipes, is now home to Chinook’s recipes. While Chinook’s six flavours require relatively few ingredients, customers expect each of their favourite flavours to taste exactly the same every time.

To date, Chinook has seen little staff turnover, but before Mar-Kov, their lead mixer relied exclusively on his experience and intuition. Today, all of Chinook’s employees can successfully replicate each flavour with Mar-Kov

Even more importantly, Mar-Kov records every detail pertaining to Chinook’s ingredients, production and shipping data. As a result, Chinook is FDA Food Safety Modernization Act compliant and has the data required to track products in the unlikely event of FDA-mandated and voluntary recalls.

“In 24 hours, Mar-Kov put Chinook back in the black, and in just a few months, Mar-Kov helped us transform Chinook and revolutionize the way we manage our business,” says Kraig. “As a result, Chinook will be providing the super healthy, ultra tasty sunflower seeds people have fallen in love with for years to come.”