How Tony’s Chocolonely uses Procuros to cut order handling time by 90%
Tony’s Chocolonely is one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the Netherlands, well known for revolutionising the chocolate industry through their human rights and environmental efforts. After the company’s initial success, order volumes grew quite quickly and the Tony’s Chocolonely operations team was tasked with the ambitious goal of scaling their operations across Europe, thereby bringing 100% exploitation-free chocolate into even more supermarket shelves.
In order to achieve this goal, the team had to automate their supply chain processes. Especially resource-dependency and operations-related errors had to be reduced. This quest proved to be quite a challenge due to their limited IT resources.
That’s where Procuros comes into play: Leveraging the Procuros Integration Hub allowed them to get access to the entire Procuros trade partner network via one single API connection. This significantly increased their expansion speed with minimal IT involvement.
As a result, the Tony’s Chocolonely team was able to meet customer requirements in the European markets, to drastically reduce manual efforts and errors and is now in a good position to further automate processes along the whole supply chain.
The challenge: Heterogeneous requirements for digital trade partner connections
When Tony’s started expanding across the German-speaking markets, they gained traction with customers quite quickly and are now to be found across many major supermarket chains.
Initially, the Tony’s team was happy about every order and eagerly awaiting the next one to arrive. With more and more success they started hiring additional people for order processing - until customers like Edeka set an ultimatum: Either integrate digitally within 6 months or accept the risk of forced discounts.
Given the tight timeline for searching, selecting and then implementing EDI integrations with all major customers across the different markets, the Tony’s team had to find a partner that would be able to connect them to their customers quickly and help them along the way with in-depth expert knowledge of local market requirements.
The search: Finding a partner with an API-first approach and deep EDI know-how
Internally, Tony’s prides itself with using the newest technology stack. They use Boomi as an API integration layer to their Microsoft Business Central ERP system and ensure that all processes flow through Boomi for maximum transparency and flexibility. Accordingly, they were expecting to have the same level of transparency and flexibility within their B2B integrations.
As Bas, Tony’s Business Central Consultant and Architect puts it: “Finding a partner that uses forward-thinking technology was one of the main decision criteria. For us, this means an API-first approach to gain the flexibility of adding additional use cases later on. Since we want to ensure a future-proof IT set-up, using an old fashioned flat file exchange was not an option for us.”
In addition, the potential partner needed to offer a solution with minimal IT involvement as the backlog had already been planned with the most important implementation projects across all branches.
Furthermore, the ideal partner would have already done integrations with their most important customers in the past and knows how to avoid the most common mistakes.
All of these criteria would need to be met by one provider, so that they would have one single speaking partner and avoid any unnecessary process complications or additional project or third-party costs.
The solution: One central connection with minimal IT involvement
With Procuros they found a reliable partner that had already done the heavy lifting of integrating their most important trade partners like Edeka, Rewe, Globus or Metro. By setting up one central connection to the Procuros integration network, they could leverage the entire network of pre-connected trade partners with just a few clicks.
Since Procuros offered a fully managed service and would therefore be taking care of all trade partner communications, there was no need to gather additional knowledge about local market requirements or frequent IT involvement to answer questions and adjust interfaces.
Instead, they could schedule one sprint with their IT team to integrate the Procuros API and have all data flow through one central API. When the Amsterdam colleagues saw the solution’s simplicity and ease of use, they decided to seize the opportunity and introduce Procuros to further markets beyond the originally scoped DACH region.
By having an API-first approach, automating their order handling process end-to-end was only a part of the benefits they received. On top, they had the possibility to add data validation and feedback to their customer integrations, which has reduced errors and the error handling time drastically.
What's next: Integrating even more processes
Integrating trade partners is just the beginning. With the currently ongoing integration of their logistics partner they are hoping to cut costly, wasteful and reputation-damaging mistakes by ensuring that goods always arrive where and when they need to be.
Looking forward, Tony’s is also hoping to integrate with their suppliers, expand integrations to additional markets and up-level their validation processes to include automatic price matching.
To conclude, Jan (Head of Operations Dach & Nordics), says it best:
“Procuros has been a great partner in achieving our goals with the initial use cases and we expect them to be just as good of a partner for the additional tasks to come.”
We are honoured to be supporting the team on their journey to bring 100% exploitation-free chocolate into even more supermarket shelves!