Founded in 1981 in Le Locle, Choco-Diffusion SA is a family business that today comprises five entities, which form the CD Group. The Group offers a wide range of chocolates aimed at the tourism sector as well as souvenirs and articles for festive occasions. In Switzerland, the Group has established a presence in all of the major supply chains and the retail market as well as in several international markets. The company from the Canton of Neuchâtel diversified with the acquisition of Cafés La Semeuse in May 2015 and now offers its clients a selection of high-quality coffees from this well-known company. Today, the Group employs more than 85 people on a permanent basis and its workforce increases to around 120 in the busy production periods at Easter and Christmas.
In 2014, the Group’s management asked PwC’s Business Software Integration Team in charge of the implementation of ABACUS to respond to its requirements as set out in the list of specifications issued by the Choco-Diffusion Group’s teams.
In fact, the Choco-Diffusion, Goldkenn and SwissDream companies each used different IT tools, which resulted in fragmented data and the need to execute several processes manually causing errors and wasting time).
Moreover, the ERP system, which was developed specifically for the three companies, was maintained by a single person, representing a major risk to the system’s sustainability.
In changing the ERP system, there were clear objectives:
The solution had to enable the management of the processing activities, sales in Switzerland and abroad, order processing by EDI (electronic data interchange between the buyer and the seller) as well as manage the financial accounting and payroll. The objective was ambitious because the solution had to work for several legal entities in multiple languages and currencies.
Management was also looking for a suitable analytics and reporting system that could be used rapidly, easily and flexibly.
In the summer of 2014, the Choco-Diffusion Group decided to implement the ABACUS integrated solution with the QlikView data analytics tool. It chose PwC’s Business Software Integration Team for the project.
The accounting and payroll modules went live in 2015. The sales management, export, procurement and the EDI order processing modules were then added. Lastly, the picking (stock movements carried out with the help of a scanning tool) and the preparation management process were implemented in the spring of 2016.
At the same time, the dashboards developed by PwC with the QlikView Business Intelligence software, were implemented in order to analyse sales and margins and to assist management in taking strategic decisions.
In collaboration with the software company, PwC’s ABACUS specialists conducted an analysis of the processes of the different entities and the feasibility of performing them in ABACUS. A detailed report was issued for the attention of the Group’s management.
Due to the large number of processes that had to be integrated in the solution, PwC was convinced that the implementation of the new tool would have to be performed in several steps. Together with the responsible persons from the Choco-Diffusion Group, PwC defined a road map that fixed the major project steps, the budgets and the resources allocated to each activity.
During the implementation phase of the sales process and the EDI order processing, the Choco-Diffusion Group and PwC had to address various challenges.
In order to enable exchanges and centralize requests, a contact person was named on the PwC ABACUS Team and on the client side. This allowed requests to be managed better on both sides and to stick to the allocated budgets.
To increase the chances of the project’s success, PwC involved in each step the management and the key users at Choco-Diffusion in order to understand in real time the needs and expectations of each of them based on the specificities of the business.
PwC first trained the key users in the different processes so that they could take ownership of the tool and use it optimally. Subsequently, the key users were able to train their teams.
After the implementation of the ERP system, PwC’s ABACUS Team continues to assist Choco-Diffusion’s users in order to respond to their questions and to maintain the system. The same team also performs the updates.
Lastly, PwC proposes developments and improvements to the system in order to support the group in reaching its goals and objectives.
The new system implemented at Choco-Diffusion enables the consistent, simplified and automated management of all of the sales, finance and logistics processes. There is no longer any need to re-enter data in several tools, which was time consuming and a source of errors.
Choco-Diffusion’s users benefit from a sustainable solution, developed and maintained over more than 30 years, and they can rely on the support of PwC’s ABACUS Team, which is always ready to respond to questions relating to ABACUS.
Thanks to the introduction of the QlikView data analytics tool, Choco-Diffusion’s management and sales teams have real-time access to their key performance indicators. They are therefore able to take strategic decisions, with the aim of realizing their objectives.
PwC and the Choco-Diffusion Group have learned many valuable lessons from collaborating on this ambitious project. A trustful relationship has been established between the two parties. Efficient communication, availability at all times, and flexibility on both sides, contributed to making this project a complete success.
Partner Tax & Legal Services, PwC Switzerland
Tel: +41 58 792 81 23
Leader Business Software Integration Switzerland, PwC Switzerland
Tel: +41 58 792 47 74