Chocolatier Apromo Trading Finds a Sweet Spot with SapphireOne and SPS Commerce

After outgrowing a prior business system, Apromo Trading has future-proofed itself for swift growth and scalability with a multi-year transformation that touched on every part of the business. The combined power of SapphireOne and SPS Commerce, Inc. technology is driving the solution, which Apromo considers central to its business plan.

Apromo Trading
  • Customer Type:
  • Industry:
    Fine Specialty Food
  • Headquarters:
    Sydney, Australia
  • SPS Product:
  • ERP:

Established in Sydney in 1988, Apromo Trading provides European ingredients and semi-finished products to premium Australian chocolate manufacturers and patisseries, and packaged chocolate and confectionery to high-end food retailers.

Apromo Trading EDI: Graduating to New Systems for a Growing Business

Australian chocolate and fine-food specialist Apromo Trading Pty Ltd has futureproofed itself for swift growth and scalability, with a multi-year transformation that touched on every part of the business.

The company imports two shipping containers and sundry plane shipments per week, and processes approximately 150 orders per day. Apromo has a growing number of facilities on the eastern seaboard, including two new multi-million-dollar centres of innovation, and uses a blend of own and third-party logistics networks. Having outgrown a prior business system, Apromo Trading’s leadership team retained a specialist to identify a best-fit solution that would scale with growth.

In addition to standard logistic, account, and inventory management functionality, the future system would importantly need to deliver real-time item-level visibility throughout the supply chain (including externally), adapt to the evolving Australian labelling regulatory framework, and deliver documentation required for compliance with food safety certification HACCP.

SapphireOne EDI Integration with SPS the Best-Fit Solution

The recommendation was made to adopt SapphireOne, which incorporates an SPS Commerce fulfilment EDI retail network connection. Where SapphireOne powers control of stock movements, financial management, and customer management, SPS Commerce automates exchange of orders, invoices, shipping documents, and more with trading partners – all actioned and recorded within SapphireOne.

Apromo Trading general manager Thierry Scherer said that the transformation was planned to produce a quantum leap in business efficiency, return actionable business intelligence, and establish processes to take the company through a growth phase without increasing variable costs. “Our goal is to automate as many processes and functions as possible, to free our team to focus on core strategic opportunities,” said Mr Scherer.

“We’ve recently seen our average customer order volume increase, as well as the complexity of each order. We have approximately ten-times more line items on each order, drawing from an expanding number of products and fulfilment centres, going to a greater number of delivery addresses, with more sophisticated delivery instructions – all required faster than ever to meet the ‘just in time’ fulfilment model,” said Mr Scherer. “And we have further expansion firmly on the radar. Without automating these transactional functions, we would need to add more reactive people to handle the work. We chose instead to adopt modern supply chain automation to effectively eliminate duplication errors, with SapphireOne and SPS Commerce. Now instead of adding data entry staff, we’re retasking the existing team almost exclusively to proactive business growth efforts.”

Apromo Trading EDI and ERP Transformation Delivers Gains

The Apromo Trading solution incorporates use of the SapphireOne business package with fulfilment EDI through SPS Commerce, driving collaboration within the company and externally with trading partners. Teamwork tools within SapphireOne include tracked softphone and VoIP, comprehensive logging of customer touchpoints, and note-making facility across database tables. The first iteration of the Apromo Trading EDI project connected its two largest trading partners – David Jones and Myer – to test data flows. Like most Australian retailers, David Jones and Myer are already connected to the SPS Commerce retail network for the exchange of EDI documents including orders, invoices, advance ship notices, item attributes, inventory availability, sell through intelligence, and more (EDIFACT standard documents ORDERS, INVOIC, DESADV, PRICAT, INVRPT, plus PAD data). Because SPS Commerce operates a retail network rather than replicating potentially hundreds of point-to-point retailer-supplier connections, the company can proactively maintain retailer connections on behalf of clients in a fraction of the time required by conventional systems.

Mr Scherer said that the transformation delivered considerable gains, with time efficiency, accuracy, and visibility improvements measured since business system migration in September last year. Apromo is progressively integrating use of more system modules over time – a use-case SapphireOne actively supports, by making all modules available to all clients within a flat fee, for use when desired. “The next step is deployment of the SapphireOne web pack, for fully documented integrated pick-and-pack via iPads,” said Mr Scherer. “With that functionality bedded in, we plan to add more of our trading partners to our network. Each step of the way will improve profitability, supply chain speed, and ultimately our customer’s satisfaction.”

Apromo Trading approached the system migration through a strong testing regime with the two technologies – even so, once in production, various ‘bugs’ needed to be resolved. “SapphireOne and SPS Commerce were on standby and highly responsive to our service calls. Nobody expects a major system migration to proceed without issues – the important thing is they be resolved quickly and transparently. SapphireOne and SPS Commerce did just that, working together seamlessly to ensure Apromo Trading moved to production on schedule.” said Mr Scherer. This validated Apromo’s strategic decision to work with business solution providers that operate and support from within the same time zone.

“We’ve heard too many horror stories of companies entirely breaking down trying to work with systems based in America or Europe,” said Mr Scherer. “SapphireOne with SPS Commerce delivers us the functionality and scalability we need, with real-time help from local experts when we need it. Anything less was a deal-breaker for us.”

The Interviewee:

Thierry Scherer, GM

The Challenge:

After outgrowing legacy systems, a specialist was asked to identify a best-fit solution to scale with growth.


The Solution:

The recommendation was to adopt SapphireOne in conjunction with SPS Commerce Fulfilment EDI.


The Results:

Measurable gains in time efficiency, accuracy and inventory visibility across trading partners.

“SapphireOne with SPS Commerce delivers the functionality and scalability we need, with real-time help from local experts when we need it. Anything less was a deal-breaker for us.”

– Thierry Scherer