Chocolate Maker Theo & Philo Sweetens Its Business with Oracle+NetSuite Social Impact

Thomas Kim, Managing Director, NetSuite Philippines

December 13, 2017

As one of the world’s tropical equatorial nations that produce the raw material for chocolate, the Philippines is experiencing growth as an exporter of chocolate. Not coincidentally, Theo & Philo is growing in the Philippines as well.

A maker of premium artisanal chocolates, Theo & Philo(opens in new tab) is the brainchild of Philo Chua, who developed a love of cooking with chocolate while working as an IT programmer in Pittsburgh, PA. While there, he also learned that cocoa beans grow only in equatorial regions, inspiring him to launch Theo & Philo after returning to the Philippines in 2007.

Based in Metro Manila, Theo & Philo produces more than a dozen varieties of “bean to bar,” single-origin chocolates, locally sourced and produced in the Philippines. Since its founding in 2010, the social enterprise has increased production by 700 percent to about 14,000 bars a month. But with growth and complexity, Theo and Philo found itself struggling to manage the business with QuickBooks and manual processes.

NetSuite has proven to be an ideal solution. Implemented by Tech for Good, a NetSuite Solution Provider partner in the Philippines, NetSuite is now being used by Theo and Philo for accounting, inventory and order management(opens in new tab), invoicing and purchasing, tasks Chua used to do all by himself. With NetSuite, he is now able to delegate the work across his 12-person workforce. Also, through the help of Tech for Good, Theo and Philo is able to optimize the NetSuite solution to improve most of their order management and day to day operations.

As a result, end-to-end efficiency has increased by roughly 75 percent since NetSuite went live in 2015, with automated process workflows eliminating slow and error-prone paper record-keeping. Real-time inventory(opens in new tab) data helps Theo & Philo better manage sourcing, production and distribution across nearly two dozen retailers and distributors in the Philippines, as well as new partners in Germany and Japan which were added this year.

“NetSuite is an integral part of our day-to-day operations and a scalable platform for our continued growth,” Chua said. “We’re a lot more efficient with NetSuite, and as we grow, the automated process flows and checks and balances that we need are already in place in NetSuite.”

Giving Back with Social Impact

With its growth, Theo & Philo is strengthening its charitable partnership with Gawad Kalinga, a nonprofit(opens in new tab) that strives to improve the welfare of Filipinos, comprising over 2,000 organized communities and affecting 60,000 families. Theo & Philo’s social enterprise is supported by Oracle+NetSuite Social Impact(opens in new tab), which provides free and discounted licensing to grantees, including pro bono services to accelerate social impact.

Working with Gawad Kalinga, Theo & Philo sources raw cacao and other ingredients from Gawad Kalinga communities, helping provide a livelihood for farmers and others who work on the farm. Theo & Philo also employs Gawad Kalinga community members, offers the workforce a profit-sharing plan, and has sponsored five scholarships for Gawad Kalinga grade school, high school and college students.

“After being in the U.S. for seven years, I saw the stark contrast of how differently some Filipino people were living and how they could use help,” Chua said. “Growing up and in school, I was always involved in organizations that helped people out, so it was a natural thing.”

It also seems a natural thing that Theo & Philo will continue to grow, given its success and rising global demand for premium chocolates. As it does, NetSuite supplies an agile cloud-based platform to achieve business goals, including near-term objectives of product diversification and entering new global markets.

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