Integrated chocolate platform

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Belgian chocolate maker Godiva currently has a 400-strong workforce and produces more than 2 million kilos of chocolate in Europe.

Due to growth in turnover, an expanding product range and packaging, Godiva had been struggling with a lack of space at its production unit in Brussels.

In order to supplement the capacity of its own packaging department, the chocolate maker had been outsourcing its packaging and labelling work.  However the complexity and distribution costs of collating these operations put pressure on lead times and costs.

It sought a single logistics firm to handle its packaging and labelling offer and offer value added services.

Hessenatie Logistics, member of H.Essers suggested that shortening the supply chain would give Godiva a competitive advantage, as well as added services such as re-packaging, conditioning and customised labelling.

The Logistics firm proposed a system to integrate all logistics activity in one hub, with all packaging on one physical platform.

Hessenatie Logistics had previously re-packaged Godiva’s goods into multi-packs. In the new system it had to handle unpackaged goods for the first time, os had to meet Good Manufacturing Practice and BRC international standards.

The new packaging area where the products are processed and packaged is conditioned to 16°C and the relative air humidity is set at a maximum of 60 per cent. The area is also highly insulated and is equipped with washable walls.

The platform now handles some 7.5 million packages per year. It uses about 200 types of packaging, from individual units to chocolate boxes, bags, sleeves, blister packs, cardboard boxes, etc.

“For this solution we have opted, on the one hand, to keep our costs under control, and on the other hand, to push our process further into the logistics chain. This makes us fairly unique in the chocolate world,” said Peter Van Ingelghem, director of operations Godiva.

The integration has improved the use of space, it has led to a reduction in transport journeys, smaller total stock levels, and better customer service.

Van Ingelghem said: “In the future, we can achieve real benefits of scale by extending this concept and sharing it with other market players – even competitors – in order to make combined use of them. In this way, we can create a win-win situation for the logistics partner but especially for all the various chocolatiers.”

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