Helping Bullion Chocolate plan for business innovation and growth
Bullion Chocolate pride themselves on discovering and treasuring the world’s finest cacao. Established in 2016, they have enjoyed national success with companies such as Harvey Nichols and John Lewis, and were also Gold winners at the Academy of Chocolate Awards 2021.
Bullion sought consultancy expertise through the Sheffield Innovation Programme (SIP) to help them advance the packaging and wrapping process of their chocolate.
The process, while an essential part of the Bullion handcrafted approach, is labour intensive and owner, Max Scotford wanted to explore ways to improve productivity without compromising on quality.
The Sheffield Innovation Programme established a connection between Max and National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE) Consultant, Soeren Vonsild, to explore ways to improve the process through a focus on both operational processes and strategic vision.
Soeren discovered that production and processes were based solely around Max with no formal processing structures, recipe capturing or customer engagement strategy.
As a result, Soeren worked with Max to design and set up a document handling system to assimilate all the knowledge and processes for chocolate making into a formal, traceable operational procedure.
This would mitigate against subtle changes that can occur in verbal instruction alone to reduce inconsistencies, capture exceptional practice and enable even safer processes. Consistency and traceability in this process would also allow the business to grow without compromising quality.
Soeren’s input refined each step of the production process and as a result, staff methods and approaches have been harmonised.
Having a shared vision and supporting processes in place provides peace of mind and gives staff the confidence that they are making a significant contribution to Bullion's future success.
Bullion are now thinking more strategically about the future and how to increase reach and sales without losing their personalised, craft uniqueness. Max is ready to implement the process changes and thanks to Soeren’s mentoring, is ready to manage the challenges that come with change.
This project came at the perfect time and this level of expert consultancy is usually out of reach for SMEs like Bullion. I was able to explore a short-term challenge whilst taking time to consider the long-term. Having dedicated, focused time each week out for my hectic hospitality and production schedule was invaluable. I have a deeper understanding of my brand and the importance of retaining small batch production, using best quality beans in order to change chocolate culture and appreciation. NCEFE and Soeren helped me to consider the why of what I am doing and it reminded me why I began Bullion.
Max Scotford, owner, Bullion Chocolate