Building Competent Teams With Effective Strategies and Systems

Last Updated on March 9, 2022 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

The ability to prioritize and automate tasks helps businesses focus on their core goals for success.

As the president and chief operating officer (COO) at Perfect Snacks, a food business that specializes in refrigerated protein snacks, Elizabeth Carter drives growth by aligning the organization’s operations with its most important needs to increase efficiency.

Elizabeth Carter is the guest in this episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast. Speaking with the host, Chad Franzen, Elizabeth talks about the importance of prioritization and automation in streamlining business operations.  

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Perfect Snacks

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Show Notes   

[0:26] Intro   

  • Chad Franzen mentions some of the past guests who have been on the show including David Allen of Getting Things Done and Michael Gerber of the E-Myth.
  • Chad Franzen introduces SweetProcess, a workflow tool that helps businesses streamline their operations even in life-or-death situations.   
  • SweetProcess offers a 14-day free trial without a credit card. 

[1:25] Chad Franzen introduces the guest, Elizabeth Carter.

[2:01] Elizabeth gives an overview of Perfect Snacks.

  • Perfect Snacks started with the Keith family made up of 13 kids. The family traveled cross-country via a family bus and needed healthy snacks. 
  • Launched as Berkeley Whole Foods, the organization provides whole food nutrition and refrigerated protein snacks across all retail channels, from grocery to natural foods[1] , mass retailers, and clubs.

[3:13]  What makes Perfect Snack’s peanut butter cups different from the ones Elizabeth had growing up with trick or treating? 

  • Perfect Snacks offers fair trade chocolate that is a whole food.
  • The peanut butter cups have seven grams of protein.

[3:41]  Elizabeth talks about her favorite Perfect Snack.

  • Elizabeth’s favorite Perfect Snack is the little snack size.

[4:15]  What are Elizabeth’s primary responsibilities as COO at Perfect Snacks?

  • Elizabeth makes sure that the organization stays true to its key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • She ensures that the organization leans into strategy and focuses on its priorities: growth, execution, and culture.

[5:15]  Elizabeth shares insights into how she gets the team at Perfect Snacks focused. 

  • Elizabeth supervises various activities to engage and motivate the team.
  • She helps the senior leadership team understand the tools that are available for them to make sure that all team members fully embrace the organization’s focus and priorities.

[6:42]  How has Perfect Snacks been able to report a compound annual growth rate of 78% since 2015? 

  • Perfect Snacks is in about 30,000 stores selling with a national footprint. It’s a category leader in the top five brands in national grocery and top 10 brands in national mass retail.
  • It has a good reception among retailers and is constantly selling to consumers. 

[8:06]  Elizabeth talks about her processes and systems for keeping the organization’s operations efficient.

  • The organization adopts electronic data interchange (EDI), automation, purchase order automation, accounts payable automation, all different tactics to speed up its processes.
  • The implementation of several software to automate their operations doesn’t allow time or room for errors. 
  • The team looks out for pain points in its processes and automates some of its manual tasks.

[10:21] Do the employees at Perfect Snacks work remotely?

  • The majority of the employees at Perfect Snacks work remotely.
  • The organization has designated days within the week that people come into the office.

[11:05] Elizabeth points out some of the challenges of having the team working remotely.

  • The organization was ahead of the curve by allowing its employees to work remotely in December 2019, so it was accustomed to remote work when COVID-19 emerged. 

[12:32] How does the organization navigate the limitations of working remotely? 

  • The management team creates opportunities for in-person collaborations among the team.
  • They organize interesting activities to bring the team to the office to interact with one another.

[14:03] How can people get Perfect Snacks?

  • In addition to getting Perfect Snacks on the company’s website, you can also get the snacks at Target, Whole Foods, Publix, Walmart, Albertson, ALDI’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, and Amazon.

[14:34] Elizabeth mentions her favorite books.

  • Elizabeth says she’s a Nicholas Sparks fan.

[15:16] Outro

About Elizabeth Carter

Elizabeth Carter is the president and COO at Perfect Snacks, a family business developed out of love for optimal health, fitness, and nutrition. She’s a 15-year consumer packaged goods (CPG) and finance management veteran with a proven track record of success in increasing sales and profitability.

Elizabeth heads the operations team at Perfect Snacks, positioning the organization as a leading snack brand. 

Transcript of this interview

Announcer: Welcome to the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Chad Franzen: Chad Franzen here, co-host of the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their jobs. Past guests include David Allen of Getting Things Done and Michael Gerber of The E Myth many more. This episode is brought to you by SweetProcess.

Chad Franzen: Have you had team members ask you the same questions over and over again? And this is the tenth time you spent explaining it? There’s a better way and a solution. SweetProcess is a software that makes it drop-dead easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff. Not only do universities, banks, hospitals and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life-or-death situations to run their operations. Use SweetProcess process to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time so you can focus on growing your team and empowering them to do their best work. Sign up for a 14-day free trial. No credit card required. Go to, that’s sweet like candy,

Chad Franzen: Elizabeth Carter is President and Chief Operating Officer of Perfect Snacks, a family business developed out of love for optimal health, fitness and nutrition. She’s a 15-year CPG and finance management veteran with a proven track record of success increasing sales and also profitability. Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?

Elizabeth Carter: Thanks. Good. Thanks for having me.

Chad Franzen: Hey, so tell me a little bit more about Perfect Snacks. It’s kind of self explanatory in the title, but tell me a little bit about the history and what you guys do.

Elizabeth Carter: Yeah, so it’s a little bit of a wild story. It started with a family, the Keith family. There was 13 kids, and a family bus, and a recipe that started from their dad making peanut butter balls and putting their whole food supplements in and grinding them up for them to have a healthy snack. And the kids decided to start the business and make it into bars. And they launched first at the Berkeley Whole Foods and from there expanded into other Whole Food stores, but that’s where the brand kind of got its start.

Elizabeth Carter: We’re providing whole food nutrition and refrigerated protein snacks that kind of has expanded across all channels, from grocery, natural, mass and clubs. So very excited. We really stand behind fresh snacking, providing a very great tasting product for different eating occasions throughout the day, whether it’s our snack size bar for snacking in the morning or afternoon or into the evening, or our full-size bar that can be a meal replacement. And then our peanut butter cups for an afternoon indulgent snack.

Chad Franzen: So what is the difference between one of your peanut butter cups and maybe one that you might have had when you were a kid trick or treating?

Elizabeth Carter: Yeah, a big difference. We have fair trade chocolate. These are a whole food. Everything that’s in our product, you can spell. It’s something that you’d find in all of your regular snacks from peanuts to, like I said, the fair trade chocolate. It’s got protein in it. [inaudible 00:03:31] the peanut butter cups have seven grams of protein. So it’s just something that you wouldn’t see in a cup that you had growing up with trick or treating

Chad Franzen: Do you have a favorite Perfect Snack?

Elizabeth Carter: Mine right now is actually the snack size. I actually just got done having one before, so my stomach wasn’t growling. But mine really is the little snack size. For me, a whole bar was really challenging. And so the fact that we came out with snack size to really appeal to those consumers who were having a hard time eating that full size bar or eating half and putting half away. And this also appeals to a lot of individuals within a whole family.

Chad Franzen: I mentioned in your intro that you are the Chief Operating Officer. What are your kind of primary responsibilities in that position?

Elizabeth Carter: For me, it’s really managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Making sure we’re staying true to our KPIs. How do we drive the business forward? How do we lean into strategy? How do I get the team focused around what’s the right path to take to meet our priorities? For me, it’s really critical that going into our third year of a pandemic we decided to kind of scale back and make sure that we could focus. With the challenges you’re having in supply chain and logistics, we wanted to focus more what made the brand, what it was, and that was the bar category. And not that we’re not focusing on innovation, but this year we’re really trying to hone in on expanding our bar category, making sure our retailer… So it’s really making sure that we have the right strategy, the right priorities to meet that focus.

Chad Franzen: When you said it’s your responsibility to get the team focused, what do you kind of do to do that?

Elizabeth Carter: So last week we just had a onsite for three days. First, we kicked off Innovation Summit. What does that look like near term and in three to five years? Then the next day we kicked off culture and strategy. If you look at our key priorities, we go into growth, execution and culture. And we made sure that within those, we had an immersion session about each one of them. So in the strategy session we talked about, where is our annual contract for the year? And where are there gaps? And then in the culture section, making sure that we have the right people in the right sea. Making sure that we have the right processes for those individuals. Making sure that those individuals fully understand, what are the goals and priorities for the company?

Elizabeth Carter: I mean, we do have a management system called LADIS employee engagement that allows people to go in and track KPIs, track how they’re performing. It goes from the individual all the way up to the company. So making sure that the entire senior leadership team understood the tools that are available for them to make sure that all team members fully embrace what our focus and priorities are.

Chad Franzen: Perfect Snacks has reported a compound annual growth rate of 78% since 2015. What do you think are some reasons for that?

Elizabeth Carter: I think it’s finally retail’s reception of the fresh snacking. They’re selling in and explaining to them, seeing the growth in the perimeter and consumer shifting towards wanting that fresher, refrigerated snack. We’re in about 30,000 doors selling with a national footprint. We’re a category leader in top five brands in national grocery and top 10 brands in national mass. So we’ve been able to accelerate our story in the reason to believe in refrigerated snacking.

Elizabeth Carter: And also, then retailers have started to shift their mindset in starting to create these fresh snacking sets that have drove consumers to there, with Perfect Snacks being a leader. And there a lot of other different protein snacks. But it’s really also coming off of the headwinds of just consumers are snacking more. Consumers are snacking, prior to COVID, but there was shifting, but even more during COVID and we’re seeing that continue to accelerate. And so it’s really getting behind that story with retailers and telling them that. And then how do we continue to expand our set within that?

Chad Franzen: How many employees are there at Perfect Snacks, roughly?

Elizabeth Carter: We have 77.

Chad Franzen: Okay. Can you tell me a little bit about your operations then in terms of your processes and your systems and kind of how you keep things efficient?

Elizabeth Carter: Yeah, so, I mean, I think that was a big turning point for us. We [inaudible 00:08:10] up to about a hundred million company. In March of ’20 we went live with NetSuite. And part of that was when we got acquired by Mondelez one of their other ventures was on NetSuite. We looked at a lot of different systems. But that one was really the system that worked best for us. And we were able to lean into some of the other ventures to help support our integration of it. But really, I was actually having a conversation with our head of operations yesterday. And the best thing we ever did was we launched the system not with a ton of complexity. We launched it with just getting live with financials, AP, AR. And then, but now, after post, we’ve almost spent a year and a half, we’ve embraced how else to layer in different things.

Elizabeth Carter: So we’ve leaned into EDI. We’ve leaned into automation, PO automation, AP automation, all the different tactics to help speed up the process. And we close our books in two days and we report financials on day three. So that doesn’t allow a lot of time or room for error. So we’ve really adopted a lot of systems. We’re actually working on how to automate our trade software into our financial system and working, partnering with Cresicor on that. But the biggest thing for us is just having that development and having that understanding with all the teams to know that they need to be keeping their eyes and ears out for pain points within their processes.

Elizabeth Carter: So if you talk about our customer service side, and they were manually fulfilling SOs in our system. Now, we’ve automated it. Whereas before it might have taken them an entire week to do everything, it now is down to hours. So giving that time back to individuals so they can focus on other things within their job and not spending time manually doing it, is probably one of the biggest things that we’ve embraced and brought to a head within the organization is how we’re going to structure our operations.

Chad Franzen: Do most of your employees work remotely?

Elizabeth Carter: Right now, the bulk of people are remote. We have designated days within the week that people come into the office. So it’s great to have that face to face and collaboration. Today’s Marketing. Tomorrow is Finance. And Thursday is Operations. And Monday, Friday is a flex. We’re moving into a new office space. So we’re going to be adopting a new hybrid model that kind of works for everybody, but really trying to work to get people excited to come back to the office. Come in and have a coffee, even if it’s just for a couple hours and meet with some of your colleagues. It’s not going to be a strict policy, but it’s going to be something that works for our brand.

Chad Franzen: What are some of the challenges that have been presented by people deciding or even having to work remotely?

Elizabeth Carter: I think the for us, we were a little bit ahead of it, because we really are on top of engaging our employees. And I think at the tail end of ’19 we asked our employees, "What would you like to see change?" And one of the things they said was, "Be able to work from home for a day or two." And so we made that point in December and into January, we got everybody set up to be able to work from home. We got everybody who was on a desktop, had a laptop. So when COVID shut down in March of 2020 we didn’t have a lot of disruption. We made sure that people could fully work from home. There’s some little technicalities with our VPN, but really, I mean, we didn’t have a ton of challenges.

Elizabeth Carter: I think the biggest thing now is as we’re starting to bring people back and people are like, "Wow, that was really helpful being in person," and it’s really starting to have a few more of those. So people look at it more as a positive and not like, "Oh, I got to get dressed. And I’ve got to actually see people. And I’ve got to drive." So, I mean, we want to make it a positive and not a negative and really show why, as a brand, we have some of that face-to-face time.

Chad Franzen: Yeah. Have you found ways as you kind of work through the remote working process to kind of bring back that atmosphere where you bump into somebody in the hallway and you can talk about something productive? When you’re working remotely, everything kind of needs to be scheduled.

Elizabeth Carter: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, for here, we’ve tried to have it where people kind of come in and we have lunches. So we’re trying to lean on the department heads, so head of Operations, Marketing, and so forth to kind of find a plan that works within their own. So we just recently deployed all of the engagement surveys by department to the leads for them to kind of slice and dice and go through it and see, what could I do to help make it meaningful for my team? Because where we scored the least was where people said they didn’t feel like they needed to come in person to collaborate. They didn’t think that that was critical for their job. So that’s in our mind saying, "Okay, but what can we do to get them in to collaborate? Can we have lunches? Can we have the coffee? Can we have a lunch and learn, where we bring an expert, a subject expert in and have them talk through?"

Elizabeth Carter: And it doesn’t necessarily have to be around Perfect Snacks. We, at one time, had somebody show us how to make kombucha in the office. So it can just be something that people are engaged in, even having a yoga class on our patio. I mean, we do live in sunny San Diego. We have the benefit of very good weather most of the time. So just getting people back and leveraging tactics like that.

Chad Franzen: Sure. Yeah, those are definitely great ideas. Final question for you. But first, where can people get Perfect Snacks if there’s some common retail outlets? You mentioned Whole Foods and also where you just find more information about you guys online.

Elizabeth Carter: Yeah, definitely, at But you can find us at Target in your inline set. You can find us at Whole Foods. You can find us at Publix, Walmart, Albertson, ALDI’s, Safeway. You can find us at Costco, Sam’s Club now, which was a new launch last year. And, of course, on our own D2C site and Amazon.

Chad Franzen: Okay. And my last question for you. Do you have any favorite books that you have found particularly valuable or enjoyable recently?

Elizabeth Carter: Well, I’m a mother of three kids. And I have a one, eight and ten year old. So I’m very limited on my [crosstalk 00:14:43]. It’s terrible, but I’m a Nicholas Sparks fan, which it’s not even a self-help. I mean, I feel like I’ve been so engaged at work I have to have my hour at the end of the day to unplug. And typically, it’s watching something on Netflix or while I’m finishing up some work. So honestly, the book has been a low priority with having a one year old in the house.

Chad Franzen: That’s all right. You’re a children’s book expert.

Elizabeth Carter: Yeah. I am. I just actually ordered some more Judy Blume books for my daughter.

Chad Franzen: Very nice. Hey, Elizabeth, it’s been great to get your insights and hear your thoughts. I really appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.

Elizabeth Carter: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Chad Franzen: So long, everybody.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown Podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures and/or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14-day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up. Go to, sweet like candy and process like Go now to and sign up for your risk-free 14-day trial.

Owen McGab: Hi, this is Owen, the CEO and co-founder here at SweetProcess. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast interview, actually, you know what I want you to do? Go ahead and leave us a five star review on iTunes. That way we get more people aware of the good stuff that you get here on this podcast. Again, go on to iTunes and leave us a five star review. Looking forward to reading your review. Have a good day!

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