Food & Drink
Thorntons
Improve the Food and Drink Skills Council helped to secure funding for one of the country’s best-loved chocolate manufacturers, Thorntons, to improve performance and productivity through a successful training programme designed and delivered by CQM Training and Consultancy Ltd.

Helping Thorntons Improve People and Processes

Improve the Food and Drink Skills Council helped to secure funding for one of the country’s best-loved chocolate manufacturers, Thorntons, to improve performance and productivity through a successful training programme designed and delivered by CQM Training and Consultancy Ltd.

Treats that delight the senses

Thorntons opened their first shop in Sheffield almost 100 years ago, where Joseph Thornton implored his teenage sons to “make this the best sweet shop in town”. Today, Thorntons employ some 4,000 chocolate lovers from around the UK and are one of the oldest names on the high street.

CQM Training & Consultancy Ltd opened their training and coaching company in the same city with a goal to provide coaching and training to the food industry that contributes to better profits.

Both companies now operate out of Derbyshire and as Thorntons approach their centenary, they remain one of the oldest names on the high street with 379 shops and cafes.

How the training came about?

Improve and the NSA singled out Thorntons as a company who could benefit from a training programme investment. CQM Training & Consultancy Ltd was appointed to support Thorntons in developing process and continuous improvement skills. The programme designed by CQM Training and Consultancy and the Thorntons operations management team involved a combination of workshop training and on-site coaching in tools and techniques of Lean and Continuous Improvement.

The development programme was implemented to improve flow and efficiency, reduce waste and encourage constant analysis and problem solving, with the ultimate goal of improving their bottom line.

The Benefits

Over 150 Thorntons staff have now been taken through the process of improvement training and coaching using an NVQ in Business Improvement Techniques. The Women in Work programme, sponsored by the NSA, has also helped to reinforce and consolidate the embedding of the new approaches.

First for Thorntons

Thorntons are now one of the first food manufacturers in the country to pilot the new Improve Proficiency Apprenticeship in Food Manufacturing Excellence (a major aspect of current government policy) with 17 key line runners and team leaders being taken through this excellent qualification.

“From day one the whole Thorntons operations team, led by David Proctor, has been totally committed to supporting this complex programme of process improvement and cultural change. We have seen a radical change in the way people now plan their daily work to incorporate constant analysis and problem solving, resulting in some impressive improvements impacting the bottom line”.

Peter Booth

MD- CQM Training & Consultancy Ltd

Numerous improvement projects have been delivered including:

– Significant improvements to flow and efficiency on the chocolate enrobing lines

– Improved organisation and reduced waste on packing lines

– Reduced waste and changeovers on the robotics lines.

– Reduced losses at outfeed

– Reductions in changeovers

Underlying cultural and attitudinal changes have also resulted in improved communication, moral and team work.

“Improvements were identified in the early stages of the development programme; however we have now reached a tipping point with more robust process quality audits in place. The funding from the NSA/West Notts College and the partnership between CQM T&C and Thorntons has resulted in much hard work and persistence but we can now clearly see the positive results from this activity."

– Waste is 33% lower than last year giving us a seven figure improvement
– Labour productivity is now ahead of budget
– Overhead costs are flat against increasing volumes
– Customer service levels are running at 99%

David Proctor
Head of Operations, Thorntons

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