Tasting sweet success with the right technology

Belgian Delights

GM: Christophe Verstreken
Location: Gold Coast, QLD
Industry: Manufacturing & Wholesale
Distribution: Chocolate

Belgian Delights is a family business that has spanned continents and generations. The story of this couverture-chocolate manufacturer began many years ago in Belgium with Pierre Verstreken, a specialty baker, pâtissier, and chocolatier. Pierre passed on his passion and skills for fine quality chocolates and baked goods to his son, Robert. In 1971, Robert and his wife, Monique, opened a bakery in Hoevenen, Belgium, continuing the family heritage.

Robert and Monique Verstreken migrated to Australia with their two sons, Dominique and
Christophe, bringing the family tradition of authentic Belgium chocolate-making with them.
The family grew the business with a custom-designed chocolate factory in Molendinar, Queensland, and has since expanded into both national and international supply. Today, the company’s clientele includes major hotel groups, retailers, and wholesale customers across the globe.

With skills and processes refined through generations, Belgian Delights was seeing great
success. To support continued growth, however, it also needed the right technology. After
strategically evaluating a number of business management solutions, Belgian Delights chose
JCurve ERP, an exclusive SME edition of NetSuite available within the ANZ region, to save time,
streamline operations, and support strategic business decisions.

We have visibility over all orders and can go in and analyse the data, talk to the transport companies, follow up our deliveries and fix any issues quickly. When you don’t have this real-time data at hand, it’s much harder to ensure excellent service to customers.

How did Belgian Delights satisfy its hunger for growth?

Belgian Delights was previously operating on an MYOB accounting platform. As the businesses expanded its operations, limitations of the existing platform became apparent. Manual processes and spreadsheets were still in place and quickly becoming a roadblock to future growth.

Christophe Verstreken, General Manager of Belgian Delights, explains, “I knew that for the business to move forward and grow it needed to move onto a platform that could assist in reducing manual orders and removing spreadsheets to avoid human error. The business was growing and dealing with bigger customers. We couldn’t afford to make any costly mistakes.”

As a chocolate manufacturer, Belgian Delights also has strict health and safety procedures and handling practices. Its new NetSuite ERP system delivered full traceability of products and ingredients to uphold the highest of food safety standards.

Before implementing a NetSuite solution, order processing visibility was poor with the company relying on static data in multiple locations. NetSuite brought crucial data and processes into one, central system, giving the business closer control over customer service, time-saving automation of manual processes, and increased operational efficiency.

The company’s management now has a live view of critical business information to see that operations and service levels are being maintained. “Visibility over all the operations across the business makes it easy for anyone to go in and analyse data, pull up reports, fix any issues that may arise, and, most importantly, give good customer service.” Belgian Delights is still a family business and with Robert, Monique, Dominique, and Christophe all playing important roles, this live view of operations available to all stakeholders has been a game-changer.

Belgian Delights prides itself on maintaining a high standard for its products and service. The NetSuite is delivering the production planning insights and real-time data needed to make agile business decisions. “We focus on every detail to stay true to our family’s traditional chocolate-making heritage. With NetSuite, we can deliver high-quality products and timely service. It gives us increased visibility over operations, in-depth reporting to assist us in making vital decisions and streamlines our financials, manufacturing, and order processes from start to finish,” Christophe explains.

It has helped the business tremendously. Without a system like NetSuite, we would’ve had at least one extra person in the office to manage things. We coudn’t have achieved such levels of growth and efficiences within the business without the reporting, and up-to-date, real-time data we have available to us.

A crucial ingredient for lasting success

Implementing the JCurve ERP edition of NetSuite allowed Belgian Delights to scale faster. Under its old systems, orders were taken manually and written down before invoicing and shipping. Incorrect shipments were expensive and time-consuming to correct. With NetSuite, costs and time spent on manual, repetitive tasks have reduced dramatically, human errors eliminated, and manufacturing
efficiency boosted.

Christophe notes that before NetSuite, the company’s manual processes, order management, and error handling had created a perpetual stream of tedious tasks. Since implementing NetSuite, streamlined operations have helped to bring back a sense of joy for chocolate-making. The focus
is no longer on keeping up with growth but now on strategically growing the business faster.

Christophe elaborates, “It has helped the business tremendously. Without a system like NetSuite, we would’ve had at least one extra person in the office to manage things. We couldn’t have achieved such levels of growth and efficiencies within the business without the reporting, and up-to-date, real-time data we have available to us.” 

In 2018, Belgian Delights seamlessly transitioned from JCurve ERP onto a NetSuite manufacturing edition – providing additional benefits around work orders and inventory control. Christophe explains, “You don’t really see the true benefits of NetSuite until you actually start using the product. To move the business forward, we keep investing in new equipment, and NetSuite is something we believe helps our business grow. That’s why we keep using it and investing in it.”

NetSuite has helped me grow my business and keep my labour costs down. Without it, I would need at least one extra person in the office just to manage everything. I basically look at NetSuite as an employee. A number cruncher that doesn’t whinge

Going forward, Belgian Delights plans to expand its wholesale operations further. “The business is moving towards becoming a wholesale supplier of chocolate and bakery production ingredients. Expanding into this space, we can take advantage of the full traceability of products and product lines within NetSuite. Traceability of such items is vital, and one of the features needed that MYOB could not provide.”

The NetSuite cloud ERP platform is a crucial ingredient in the company’s continued expansion. With the platform supporting Christophe and the rest of the business, the focus is no longer on keeping up with growth – it’s on strategically growing faster. With the right technology, tools, and talented people, Belgian Delights has discovered a winning recipe for lasting business success.

Outcomes

Turnover increased by over 60% since implementing NetSuite.

Significant ongoing cost savings being realised

Reduced manual workload, negating the need to bring on additional staff.

Need for an internal IT team completely removed.

Real-time inventory and financial reporting to inform agile business decisions.