When Good Deeds Run Afoul

Return to main page

Digital Library > Operations and Technology > Suppliers"When Good Deeds Run Afoul"

Ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry's has a reputation for being a socially responsible business. But it learned — the hard way — to proceed with caution when combining benevolence with business.

For example, co-founder Ben Cohen learned of a bakery that hired the homeless and used profits to provide transitional housing to these employees. Ben & Jerry's switched from an established supplier to this bakery for brownies used in the company's ice cream products. It quickly became apparent that the bakery owner had oversold his capabilities, and the good deed became a nightmare.

The new bakery could not match the previous supplier's quality for the quantity required. Dropping the bakery was not an option. The owner had borrowed $250,000 to prepare his facility for Ben & Jerry's orders; pulling out would bankrupt the very business Cohen wanted to help. A Ben & Jerry's executive finally developed a 10-point turnaround plan to get the bakery on track, while working with a bank to restructure its debt.

Source: "Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop," by Fred Lager, Crown.

Writer: John Duggleby

Related Articles

Choosing the Right Location for Your Business

Staying Current on Technology Issues (Even if They Change Every 30 Seconds)

Relocation Strategies

Easily Grasped Software Opens Door to Complicated Control Systems

Heads Up! B2B E-Procurement Is Hard at Work

Operations and Technology

Articles in our Entrepreneur’s Resource Center appeared in print and online newsletters published previously by the foundation. More than 1,000 articles can be found in the categories below, addressing timeless challenges faced by entrepreneurs of all types.