Awards 2013: SME of the Year

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SME of the Year

Winner: Hotel Chocolat

This was a tough category for the judges with three excellent entries on the shortlist. In the end it came down to a straight fight between Cook Trading and Hotel Chocolat. Cook is a manufacturer and retailer of frozen food using the same methods and ingredients as you would use at home. In 2010, it took the decision to take its distribution in-house and created an own-account transport operation as a separate profit centre within the business. It has been able to improve the quality of service and reduce costs at the same time. Now it is working on plans for  home delivery.

Hotel Chocolat’s strategy is to be completely vertically integrated. It grows its raw material (cocoa on its estate in Saint Lucia), converts through a roasting & conching process and then creates, makes, packs and distributes to its own stores.

Project Zoom has been its overarching supply chain/operations strategy for seven years. It recently opened Alpha DC, a 140,000 sq ft facility where all multi-channel fulfilment activity takes place. All retail deliveries are made by its own drivers, allocated to fixed routes to create a connection to each store team providing a full white glove service – dropping replenishment stock onto the shop floor and date rotating back office stock. Not only was it able to show an enviable set of KPIs, it is also showing a enviable rate of growth. The award went to Hotel Chocolat.

– Hotel Chocolat

Highly commended
– Cook Trading

– Naked Wines
– Hotel Chocolat 
– Cook Trading 

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