👉 1st White Paper on the digitization of plant operational management 👈
September 7, 2023

Valrhona digitalizes skills management and production team planning

1. Company presentation

Founded in 1922, Valrhona is a French company specializing in the production of premium chocolate. With a reputation founded on the excellence of its products and its pioneering spirit, the company is committed to maintaining the highest quality while constantly innovating. Valrhona is a brand of the Savencia group, historically based in the Drôme region of France. The group has two production sites in this area, in Tain l'Hermitage. It is at one of these sites that the use case is being tested and the new process implemented.

The production process at Valrhona is complex and demanding, reflecting the company's commitment to excellence. Production involves a diverse range of products, and each category requires specific skills and different production methods. In addition, the company is subject to seasonal fluctuations, adding a further layer of complexity to workforce planning and management.

2. Context and challenges of digitalization for Valrhona in terms of skills management and planning

In the current competitive context of the premium chocolate industry, managing skills and human resources has become an absolute necessity for companies wishing to maintain their edge. It was in this context that Valrhona felt the need to call on a solution like Mercateam.

  • Production complexity :

Producing top-of-the-range chocolate is no easy task. It requires mastery of a multitude of techniques, processes and skills, some of which are highly specific to certain types of product. This complexity has made workforce management and skills planning particularly complex.

  • The need to optimize time :

Valrhona's major challenge in terms of planning was to manage the non-linearity of its workforce. Indeed, there is a great variability in staffing requirements for the same workshop.

Prior to the introduction of Mercateam, a significant proportion of time was spent on administrative tasks such as planning work assignments. This limited managers' ability to focus on value-added activities, such as improving production processes or developing new skills within their teams.

  • Reliability and efficiency:

Any planning error can have a significant impact on production, whether in terms of delays, production errors or under-utilization of available skills. What's more, poor planning can also have a negative impact on employee satisfaction, if they find themselves assigned to tasks for which they are not sufficiently trained.

  • Minimize low value-added tasks:

The expansion of operations required an increase in staff and more effective skills management. To meet the challenge of increasing volumes, it was essential to free up managers' time, enabling them to focus on core business tasks, such as problem-solving or implementing continuous improvement plans.

  • Skills management :

In a company where innovation and product diversity are crucial, skills management is becoming a major issue, especially as the workforce expands. Mercateam's contribution has enabled HR teams and production managers to acquire a common tool for steering a program of integration and skills enhancement for new recruits, thus guaranteeing greater synergy between these various stakeholders.

Photographer: Anne-Claire Héraud

3. Mercateam's mission :

At Valrhona, Mercateam's mission was to improve skills management and production team planning.

Faced with constant growth and the expansion of its operations, Valrhona identified the need to better manage and organize its production team. The complexity of skills management, with the diversity of positions and tasks within the company, necessitated the use of a tool such as Mercateam.

With the implementation of Mercateam, Valrhona can now :

  • Optimize your planning :

Thanks to Mercateam's planning function, Valrhona has been able to allocate its employees more accurately and efficiently to the various production positions according to their skills. This reduced the number of inappropriate assignments and maximized the use of available skills.

  • Improving skills management :

Mercateam gave Valrhona better visibility of the skills available in its team. This made it easier to identify skills gaps, indicating where further training was needed.

  • Time savings for managers:

By automating part of the skills planning and monitoring process, Mercateam has freed up time for Valrhona's managers, enabling them to concentrate on other aspects of production management.

  • Operations expansion support :

By facilitating the management of team growth, Mercateam has helped Valrhona to manage its expansion while maintaining a high level of quality and performance in production.

4. Results

The results of Mercateam's implementation within Valrhona have been significant and largely positive, offering a concrete response to the various challenges identified.

  • Time optimization :

Thanks to the automation of skills planning, team leaders were able to free up time to concentrate on higher value-added tasks. This has improved overall productivity and helped increase the efficiency of production processes.

  • Improved skills management :

With the implementation of Mercateam, Valrhona has been able to establish a rigorous and precise follow-up of each employee's skills. It is now possible to know who is trained for which tasks, and which skills need to be developed. This has enabled tasks to be assigned more effectively, in line with the skills available, and has encouraged skills development within the team.

  • Increased reliability :

Automated scheduling has reduced the risk of errors, ensuring smoother, more reliable production. Employees are now assigned to jobs according to their skills, reducing the risk of production errors and increasing job satisfaction.

  • Better preparation for production peaks:

Periods of high demand, such as the festive season, can be a challenge for planning. With Mercateam, Valrhona was able to prepare for these peaks by anticipating skill requirements and adjusting schedules accordingly.

skills management

Photographer: Anne-Claire Héraud