Lindt Chocolate – True Masters Of Their Craft

Gita    February 26, 2018

What do you do when you feel a little down? Sit on a sofa and stare at the wall? Go on the treadmill and think “gosh, what am I doing here”? Or, do you do what I do, and make sure you get your hands on some really, really, good chocolate?

Born and raised in Germany, I know what really, really, good chocolate tastes like, and I don’t hesitate to drive a long way to get it. When I finally get home with my treasure and start to unwrap the silver paper carefully from the bar, I already start to feel better.  When I break off the first row and hear the distinct cracking sound and see that the edge of the break is smooth and without crumbs, I know this is going to be delicious. When I inhale the scent deeply and get ready for the ultimate intense experience, my palate gets excited. I close my eyes, put the first piece into my mouth and let it melt slowly. I make sure that every single taste bud has a chance to experience the creamy yummyness. Gosh, it’s heaven.  I have to tell you, there is only one chocolate that melts that way and qualifies to be called really, really, good – and that is chocolate from Lindt!

“Lindt is the best. Their chocolate is so creamy and they offer a broad variety of interesting flavours you don’t find anywhere else.”  Ulrike Voigt, Chocolate Connoisseur

It all started in 1897 with Rodolphe Lindt and his invention that manufactured chocolate superior to all others in aroma and melting characteristics. The invention was the “Conche”, a machine that mixes, stirs and aerates the heated liquid chocolate to eliminate unwanted acidity and bitterness in the chocolate and gives it the ultimate smooth melt. Now, Lindt has of course a more modern version of the Conche, but it still takes patience and time. The process takes several hours and sometimes even days.

In 1899 the company “Chocolat Sprüngli AG” acquired the chocolate factory of Rodolphe Lindt in Bern and it was called Lindt & Sprüngli from then on. The Swiss company could expand rapidly and has today six factories: Kilchberg, Switzerland; Aachen, Germany; Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France; Induno Olona, Italy; Gloggnitz, Austria; and Stratham, New Hampshire, in the United States.

Lindt & Sprüngli owns over 300 stores worldwide. That is a lot of chocolate that needs to be manufactured and it requires a non-stop supply of cocoa, nuts, milk and sugar.  And in order to make  really, really, good chocolate, Lindt doesn’t settle on any cocoa bean or nut, oh no. Lindt wants to know exactly where each ingredient comes from, what the conditions are on every supplier farm, and even who actually planted the seeds.

To have better control over its sources Lindt partnered with Armajaro Trading Ltd and the Ghana Cocoa Board to launch a farming program in Ghana, where most of their cocoa beans come from. The program ensures the following:

  • Traceability, knowing which farmer grew and supplied the cocoa beans.
  • Training & Monitoring, where farmers learn about child labour, safety and ecology as well as agricultural knowledge to increase their yield.
  • Improvement, Lindt &Sprüngli invests in farms and community development.
  • External Assessment, farms are regularly reviewed and audited.

The program is a win-win for all involved. The farmer secures long-term income and Lindt gets the high-quality cocoa beans they need to make their really, really, good chocolate.

Other farming projects have been done by Lindt in Ecuador and Madagaskar for cocoa beans and in the Black Sea region of Turkey for hazelnuts.

In order to run a smooth production line, Lindt needs to know exactly where each ingredient is at any time. From harvest to shipping to storing and finally processing, every component necessary to make that really, really, good chocolate is tracked.

To help track this massive, global and very yummy inventory through all it’s stages until the finished product reaches the consumer, Lindt & Sprüngli uses Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Inventory Management. The system knows in real-time all the item information at any inventory location throughout the global supply chain. With one glance the company can see that although Switzerland is almost out of cocoa beans there are plenty available in Italy. With the help of the inventory management system, Lindt initiates the transport of cocoa beans from one country to the other with a simple click of the button.

Lindt & Sprüngli uses an intercompany social media sharing website, to enable quick communication between departments, i.e. connecting the warehouse with management, manufacturing plants and stores. This ensures that operations are effective and productivity optimized. Social Media can be used not only for these purposes, but also for sourcing or just keeping in touch with your chain of suppliers.  Admittedly, the average farmer in Ghana might not use Twitter as much, but Turkey, where Lindt gets the hazelnuts from, does, and California, where Lindt almonds grow, is certainly a place where life without social media is hard to imagine.  It simply helps to employ this additional tool to build and grow relationships with trading partners.

Where Lindt could use some improvement: their social media strategy geared toward consumers. The Facebook account of Lindt Canada is not doing too shabbily with 7 million followers, but Twitter (13.1 k followers) and YouTube (368 subscribers) have such a low number of subscribers it’s not even worth talking about. Yes, the occasional funny post, like the two bunnies with missing parts, get a decent number of likes, but does Lindt invite followers to contribute comments and give them a chance to inspire Lindt for new products or designs? No, not really. A pity, because their biggest European competitor Milka is doing just that. 9.5 million followers on Facebook enjoy their fun posts, prizes and games and the 18k subscribers of their YouTube channel giggle over the purple cow clips . While Milka presents itself as a fun and interactive chocolate company, Lindt keeps it more traditional and serious. I my opinion, Lindt could improve in the humour department, but doesn’t need to in the chocolate department. The chocolate is just really, really, good the way it is.

Lessons for Others

Social Media used in Supply Chain management is not only a great way to find new suppliers and strengthen existing partnerships, but also to increase transparency and information flow. As a result, it establishes trust with the customer and can improve communication, which in turn might lead to sale increases and product improvements.

Organization: Lindt & Sprüngli
Industry: Manufactor and Retail
Name of Organization Contact: Web based information

Authored by: Gita Pattison

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.



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