Hotel Chocolat invests in major cloud production systems for UK operations

Hotel Chocolat has partnered with Cimlogic to deliver a key cloud-based productivity solution on four production lines at its Hadley Park, UK, production facilities, reports Neill Barston.

The British premium confectionery brand, which last week at the Chocoa cocoa conference reported notable online business performance in its expanding US operations, explained that its latest digital systems investment holds significant potential for the company’s work at its Huntingdon location.

As the firm explained, the new cloud solution powered by TrakSYS, ( real-time performance software platform developed by Parsec Automation Corp) has helped the confectionery group gain real-time visibility of production data to drive operational performance and increase overall equipment effectiveness )OEE). They will utilise the data even further to expand continuous improvement opportunities and gain insight across the wider business.

Co-founded by Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris, the duo built the brand on originality and ethics, which have remained major pillars of the company as it continues to expand despite the ongoing pandemic.  Against a challenging economy, enhancing productivity is a key concern amid pressure on global markets that have impacted on physical sales channels around the world, with the business producing its own cocoa from an exclusive base in St Lucia.

The SaaS (software as a service) subscription-based system, provided by Cimlogic has enabled Hotel Chocolat to justify the business case for OEE, without investing heavily in a Capital project with an on-premise solution. The use of edge technology utilising 4G, IIoT devices and mobile data creates a digital platform which is deployed rapidly and cost-effectively, moving manufacturing data into the cloud.

The demand for faster production lines, increased efficiency and reduced costs are greater than ever before. Adopting digital manufacturing solutions and services such as this enables clients’ like Hotel Chocolat to utilise data analytics to help tackle business challenges very quickly and efficiently.

Simon Stanley, Production Manager at Hotel Chocolat said: “TrakSYS gives us a fantastic array of insight on operational performance. It has opened up a world of data analytics that has challenged our conceptions and allowed us to understand and improve on losses and opportunities. The interface is very user friendly and all reporting is customisable to suit our needs as we learn and challenge ourselves further to innovate. Within days we have had one of our teams implement an improvement based on the data Cimlogic has provided which in turn enabled a problem-solving exercise that fixed the root cause of the problem efficiently. We have begun our journey with OEE and reporting on losses but with the wealth of information at our fingertips we can now pursue more information and insight across the wider business and turn this into further progress and improvement.”

Oliver Stone, Head of Operational Excellence at Cimlogic also added: “Cimlogic is delighted to provide Hotel Chocolat with a ground-breaking digital solution to help them achieve value in the fastest way possible. The Cloud OEE solution has provided Hotel Chocolat with better visibility of operational losses such as downtime and the data needed to perform root cause analysis for long-term improvements. We look forward to supporting our client with future business goals and improvements, ensuring they gain true value from the solution at every step of the way.”

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