BIA Partners with Apprise to Thrive in the Dot-Com Revolution
February 06, 2020
Belgium Import Association (BIA) has been around for almost 70 years and has recently shifted their traditional business habits to embrace the dot-com revolution. Andy Baughman, Director of Operations with BIA Cordon Bleu Inc., shares BIA’s experience using Apprise ERP to address these updates, particularly as it relates to packaging, support and traceability. Baughman explains how Apprise has helped them better fulfill their customer orders and needs. Watch the full video below.
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We’re a company founded in 1952, so we’re almost 70 years old. It was founded by a couple of guys from Belgium, hence BIA is Belgium Import Association. We went live with Apprise on April 1, 2014. We recently upgraded to 8.0, and now we’re upgrading again to 8.11. So, we’re going strong with Apprise.
In terms of the workflow, Apprise itself is very intuitive. It’s laid out in the right order, so it goes from what you would naturally have in this industry of taking orders, fulfilling orders, shipping orders, invoicing orders, and then sending information to the customer. It is very cyclical, very controlled, but also very consistent.
Apprise has drastically exceeded our expectations in terms of responsiveness to those needs. They listen to us, hear what we are saying and are responsive to create the screens, change the processes or the workflow so it works in the real world. This allows us to actually fulfill our customers’ orders better.
One of the key aspects of Apprise is it tracks so much information at every level of packaging. So, most of our products have three levels of packaging and all of those cannot natively be dropped on the concrete 18 times, which is really the industry standard now for drop shipping.
What Apprise allows us to do is have all of the information for every unit of measure that is needed, so we can feed other systems and create boxes, materials or processes that enable us to pack our products. This way when we do drop test them, to fulfill these dot-com needs, our products do get to our customers without being dust. That’s been a big challenge, but Apprise gives us the ability and has the fields to track all of that data at that granular level, so we can actually do that. Many other systems out there just don’t track it at that level or give you the ability to grab that data out of the system so you can complete the cycle.
When we were looking for an ERP system to help our business grow, one of the key things we found with Apprise was that it provides an extraordinarily solid platform to be able to build the business on. Our previous system was kind of piece made together, it was built for something else. Apprise is purpose built, for the import industry and distribution of goods.
Right now you see this huge shift with 4,000 years of commerce being transformed in the last 10-15 years by the dot-com revolution. It has created extraordinary challenges for businesses like ours, and while we have a lot of good habits from almost 70 years of being in business, we have some old legacy habits as well. We have really had to adapt to those changes, and Apprise has provided a solid foundation for us to be able to meet those challenges and be able to grow with them, find new ways, open up those channels of distribution and selling, so we can fulfill not only traditional customers, but also the customers of the future.
My experience with Apprise has been one of partnership. Apprise has not only provided a solid foundation for us to build our business on, but another thing they’ve done is really complete their support architecture in house. You’re not having to deal with a third party vendor to be able to interface with Apprise. When we have an issue and we log a ticket, we are talking to Apprise people, we are engaging and partnering with them and they want to partner with us as well. That’s part of the Apprise culture. It seems that they’ve really put an emphasis on meeting those customers where you are, engaging those customers, and helping us as Apprise customers to then succeed. Because when we succeed, Apprise succeeds, and customers get what they want.
I have actually had the pleasure of talking to a lot of Apprise perspective customers, and that speaks to the partnership Apprise and BIA have developed over the years, since we’ve partnered together. What I love to do when customers or perspective customers call me is run them through our process and journey and figure out where they are. This helps them to potentially see where they can leverage some of the Apprise things, or maybe help through challenges they can see and things I have run into.
So what we are able to do is be an extension of Apprise as part of the Apprise family to say, “Listen, this is why we chose them, this is why we are succeeding with them and can do the things we are doing within our industry and if you continue down this road and eventually choose Apprise, they will partner with you so that you can succeed and grow.”