How a chocolatier is finding the digital technology sweet spot

20 September 2021, 08:00 AM
  • Investing in technology has helped one luxury chocolate maker increase output by more than 700%
How a chocolatier is finding the digital technology sweet spot

A chocolate maker supported by Made Smarter is poised to experience a game-changing productivity increase by automating its manufacturing process.

Ye Olde Friars (Friars), based in Cumbria, started making its own brand of premium chocolates by hand last year after nearly 100 years of retailing confectionery products.

Now, to meet increasing demand and accelerate growth, the third-generation family business is adopting a process solution that will automate the labour-intensive element of its production line. “The human element is at the start and the end of the process, making up the recipe and then hand finishing the product. The digital machinery will replace the manual, repetitive, timeconsuming and sometimes painful process in between,” explained Michael Webster, managing director.

The investment will enable Friars to increase its output from 30kg per day to 250kg – an increase of 733% – with significant scope to scale up production. 

The automaton will also make it almost three times cheaper to produce the same amount and maintain a consistent quality. 

“Our ambition is to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of quality chocolates, but in order to do this we need to look to technology to enable us to scale up our operation while producing the highest quality possible,” Michael added. “Made Smarter’s support and advice has accelerated and derisked our investment in process automation technology which will take the brakes off our growth plans and transform our business.”

Read Ye Olde Friars’ story here, and learn more about Made Smarter’s mission to connect UK makers to the digital tools, leadership and skills they need to drive sustainable growth here.

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