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2018 | Year in Review



Do you hear that?

That’s the sound of opportunity knocking. As I sit in our Lawrence headquarters, employees operating with precision akin to an atomic clock, I hope the opportunities are knocking on every door that reads this.

Responding to those knocks has been the catalyst for an amazing year in 2018 and a stellar outlook for 2019. We have much to be grateful for but still many resolutions to tackle.

Indulge me as I relive our top 5 opportunities-answered in 2018:


  1. The Opportunity to Expand: GoSimple Acquisition

In January 2018, we announced our strategic acquisition of GoSimple. This investment in both people and product has given us wings to deliver trade transparency across all tiers of CPG manufacturers. GoSimple puts innovative price discount and trade promotion management solutions within reach of the entire industry. Together, we’ve doubled the GoSimple customer group in less than one calendar year.


In the words of Brian Maloney, “The move was ideal for our team. We’ve grown the business exponentially and extended our resources in sales and marketing. Our legacy employees are thriving. Without a doubt, our team is stronger as a result of teaming up.”

  1. The Opportunity to Grow: Employee Engagement & Recognition


After the acquisition, our Lawrence MA office hosted a company-wide meeting to talk about our strategic imperatives. We also focused quite a bit on solving for challenges we see in the industry and best practices we can bring to our customers.


The meeting culminated with an awards ceremony which recognized individuals who have done exceptional work and exemplify the best of what we strive for in our Blacksmith culture and mission.



One of our very first employees, Adrian Gentilucci, was recognized for lifetime achievement at Blacksmith. Her deservedness was unanimous as displayed by the standing ovation given upon the announcement. There is no task too great and no task too small for Adrian. She is ever on deck to help, lead and serve as an example to our organization. We are most grateful to have her here and to call her our friend and colleague.


  1.  The Opportunity to Engage: Smoke Jumpers Industry Events & Publication


Wow. We wrapped up our 17th Smoke Jumpers event in May.


These meetings really allow attendees to break through the noise – talk to their peers about changes and challenges in their jobs – work together to find solutions. What started as twelve or so people in a conference room has grown to more than seventy five industry attendees coming together as a community.


I’m excited for our next event, May 8-10 2019 in Chicago. I welcome anyone (customer or not) to learn more and register here. There’s a great recap video on our events page as well, so give that a watch while you’re exploring the agenda.



And furthermore, print is – in fact – not dead! In line with our thought leadership position, the Blacksmith marketing team premiered Smoke Jumpers magazine in March with a print run of 8,000 copies. Under the leadership of Caitlin Orosz, this publication addresses critical trade and technology issues not being discussed anywhere else.


We look forward to curating best-in-class content (both at events and in print) with collaboration from our customers, industry influencers outside our walls and talented Blacksmith staff across functions.


  1.  The Opportunity to Excel: Enhancing Our Product Functionality


2018 brought product expansions in two critical areas for our business: retail planning and advanced analytics.


Sr. Consultant, Kelly Cole, led the charge on retail functionality. She has worked tirelessly to perfect the functionality required for effective management within complex retail trade promotion environments. Using our retail trade promotion application, customers can easily approve contracts, quickly view promotions on a drag & drop calendar, track accruals, get visibility into promotions performance and more. Check out our mini product demo to learn more.


Steve Thompson and Scott Poitevent dedicated their industry knowledge and consulting expertise to our analytics efforts in 2018. We listened to our customers and created a robust, visual reporting platform that delivers ease of use to system administrators at all levels. You won’t need a PhD in Mathematics to navigate the new portal. We also have several customers up and running with our executive dashboards, which generates cutting edge BI visualizations to articulate business critical KPIs. You can expect to hear more about those experiences at Smoke Jumpers in May.


  1.  The Opportunity to Serve: Onboarding New Clients


This year, across our trade spend management applications, we welcomed more manufacturers of various sizes and categories into the Blacksmith family than ever before:



  • Tyson Foods
  • The Clorox Company
  • Calavo Growers
  • Monin
  • Stonyfield
  • Trident Seafoods
  • David’s Cookies
  • Rosina Food Products
  • Elkay Plastics
  • Lantmannen Unibake
  • Lactalis
  • Smucker Canada
  • Signature Breads
  • Wayne Farms
  • Sara Lee Bakery


So, yes…so much to be proud of as I consider the year that’s passed. Heading into 2019, a few resolutions come to mind as well:


  1. Deliver extraordinary analytics solutions to our customers.
    • We’re hosting an Analytics Advisory Council session in March, so we’ll be sure to communicate next steps along the way.
  2. Exponentially grow our customer base to include more world-class retail and foodservice manufacturers of all sizes and product offerings.
    • 2018 was a great year, but I know we’re just scratching the surface. It’s our mission to get the word out across the industry. Referrals welcome!
  3. Develop and retain the best talent in the industry.
    • Our team has been constructed by design. We strive for talent density and will continue to focus on expanding our team with subject matter experts who speak the same CPG language you do.


Answer the opportunities knocking at your door in 2019. And if you want to knock on our door, we’re here – waiting with open arms.

Cheers to 2019!



Paul Wietecha