Client Stories

National Favorite, King’s Hawaiian Bakery Scales Nationwide with BluePlanner 

After what can only be described as a challenging summer of 2020, here we are on the brink of summer 2021. As establishments open, and social activities safely resume, being outdoors and re-connecting with friends and families are on the horizon. Bring on the barbecues, picnics, and enjoying great food outdoors.   

A staple and often the brand-specific product on the grocery list for any summer occasion is King’s Hawaiian rolls and breads. Whether it’s the best bread for a pulled pork sandwich, or a summer berry studded bread pudding, or toasted with some fresh butter, King’s Hawaiian is consistently top of mind all year and especially all summer long.   


Going back to the 1950s, King’s Hawaiian Roll was founded in Hilo, Hawaii by founder Robert Taira who, born of Japanese immigrants, opened his first bakery after completing first in class at a local baking school. A testament to how good the product and recipe was, the sweet rolls rarely made it home, and thus a company, a legacy, and new category of baked goods was born.   

Fast forward to 2020, and King’s Hawaiian is celebrating 70 years as a business, running a SuperBowl commercial, a “type of sandwich” at Arby’s restaurants, and carried at every major grocery store nationwide.   

BluePlanner, Meet Bakery…. King’s Hawaiian Bakery  

So let’s take this back a few years, to 2012 as King’s Hawaiian was achieving national recognition as the leading sweet roll in the United States. Adjusting to this growth led to King’s Hawaiian releasing an RFP for Trade Promotion Management (TPM) and becoming UpClear’s fourth US Client as BluePlanner was becoming a standard platform for TPM and optimization. King’s Hawaiian had a list of key TPM priorities that BluePlanner met. Firstly, the sweet roll maker needed more integrated and automated TPM & Deductions processes, as well as more effective promotion spending. The brand was also looking for real-time analytics for TPM tracking and a streamlined system for deductions and payment processing. BluePlanner TPM provides synchronization of sales forecasts and promotion plans, while end-users experience faster and more accurate accruals.  

BluePlanner’s Automated TPM & Deductions Processes   

BluePlanner is a collaborative tool that supports both sales and promotion planning, as well as deduction management. BluePlanner TPM allows for promotions planning and simulation for various teams. The trade spending feature also provides greater control over workflow approvals and key performance measures to track overtime. Payments and deductions within the platform provide insights into customer data integration, products, prices, shipments, and deductions. It was crucial for BluePlanner to facilitate the expansion of the brand’s product portfolio and help them manage new promotions and trade spending.   

King’s Hawaiian has continued to reach new heights in terms of distribution, revenue, and brand recognition, and UpClear has increased their revenue by over five times. It is a testament to entrepreneurship, leadership, and identifying the optimal solutions and best practices to create efficiency in complex processes such as trade spend, integrated business planning, and strategic RGM. 

Looking Ahead

Over time, King’s Hawaiian Bakery has added capabilities to support the continued optimization of their trade promotion processes. These capabilities have included POS based planning, and the current focus involves multiple initiatives that are possible due to Blueplanner’s build to be flexible and scalable. It goes back to the core intent of the product, which is to be able to support a brand at any stage of growth. It has been a pleasure to see the growth the brand has experienced in the past 10 years. 

“We’ve partnered with UpClear for years now, and know them well. It’s been rewarding to see both our business grow and evolve. Managing and optimizing trade is always a challenge, and this especially as we became a national brand. There are many projects to continue to scale up together.”

– Ray Fager, VP Sales

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