The manufacturer ̶ which won the Biscuit Company of the Year award at the 2012 Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards ̶ plans to increase its factory space from 5,000 to 6,600m2.
The existing warehouse space will be turned into an extended production ̶ area enabling the automated line to straighten out ̶ while a new warehouse will be built on the land the firm owns to the south of the building, providing space for about 2,000 pallet spaces.
“At the minute, when we come to peak times, we have to store a lot off site, while we'd prefer to hold it on site,” said chief operating officer Dee Scott.
She said the new space was crucial because of the growth experienced by the business in recent years.
“To put that into context, the dark chocolate gingers are our biggest sellers and we made 17M of them in 2010. Last year, that was 24M. We are hopeful that this steady growth will continue.”
The installation of an automated line, which went live two years ago, has helped the firm drastically increase its volumes.
Prior to that, everything was batch baked. By the end of this year, around 16 of the 30 products will be produced on the line.
“It is a great piece of kit, but it does take a lot of learning," said Scott. "It was a huge culture shock, though. When you are used to baking and depositing, and putting it into the rack and cooling, this is a very different set up,” she said.
450 biscuits a minute
“It is going to make 450 biscuits a minute, regardless of where you are ̶ even if you are on a tea break. You also have to treat it as a single entity, even though it is very long. You can't look at it and say: there is the mixing bit, the baking bit and the packing bit, because it is a continuous process.”
It would also enable the firm to manufacture ranges that were “technically very different to what we're doing now", she added.
While remaining tight lipped about what the new ranges were, Scott revealed that they would be developed throughout this year, ready for launch in 2014.
Read our Me & My Factory feature with Scott here.
This year’s Food Manufacture Excellence Awards are now open for receipt of entries. Several new awards have been included in the 2013, including ‘Best new use of food ingredients’ and ‘Supply chain initiative’.