Case study: DT&G looks to introduce chocolate manufacturing to the Indian market
Chocolate has often been considered a treat in Europe and the Americas, but chocolate coating machinery is in big demand in many areas around the world, DT&G’s MD Lyn Pitt tells Jack Ball
Ever since its arrival into Europe during the 16th Century, chocolate has long been a staple commodity within modern society with confectionery production heavily influenced by the introduction of industrial processes.
DT&G Ltd has 50 years’ experience in manufacturing Finn Chocolate Coaters and Polishers and have recently relocated due to increased production and development to its factory in Bromborough, Wirral. The company’s Finn name encapsulates the very highest standards in the coating and polishing of chocolate dragées – a bite-sized form of confectionery comprising nuts, raisins, coffee beans, ginger, marshmallows, seeds or cereals and many other products that are coated in a hard outer shell. Today, with hundreds of Finn Belt Coaters and Polishers in reliable and daily operation globally, the company continues to set the industry standard in belt-coating technology, with machines able to increase production and lower the man hours required within panning environments. Finn machines are supplied to leading confectioners as well as smaller niche companies in the USA, Europe, Australia, Venezuela, Mexico and India, among others.
When an enquiry came through from a world-leading chocolate manufacturer regarding their Indian manufacturing facility in 2014, DT&G welcomed the opportunity. Through their long standing relationship with UKTI, DT&G benefits from the various services and advice on hand, helping them grow their exports to 80% of their overall turnover. Initially DT&G sought advice from its UKTI International Trade Adviser, and was then introduced to the UK India Business Council to establish the potential opportunity in the market and to obtain advice on how to do business in a country that the company had not previously engaged with.
Lyn Pitt, Managing Director at DT&G, took advantage of an upcoming trade mission organised by UKTI North West to make an exploratory visit to India. She commissioned the UK India Business Council to undertake further research to ascertain interest from other chocolate manufacturers as well as identify key contacts in the industry. As a result, a full programme was organised in advance with clear objectives set for the visit.
The trade mission was a success and Lyn has since made two follow-up trips to secure orders and solidify the company’s ongoing working relationship with customers. The company has also received visits from Indian companies to their UK factory to collaborate further on future projects. Sales to India have so far reached over £750,000, with more orders now in the pipeline.
“The help and advice provided by the UK India Business Council has been invaluable, particularly in finding the key people in the industry to talk to, opening doors that otherwise we would not have been able to do”, says Lyn. Partner organisations such as Grant Thornton have also been instrumental in the company’s inroads into India and have provided DT&G with the knowledge and confidence to conduct business in the country.
The Indian business community is very competitive and efficient. With clear objectives set, effective communication, a will to work as a team, and a process system in place, the delivery and ability to overcome any problem is highly achievable. Whilst the Indian market is both exciting and challenging, it is one that is also based on mutual respect and openness. Confectionery production has to be designed to accommodate the temperature and humidity for successful operation, with bespoke solutions supplied by local specialists.
DT&G is still in regular contact with the UK India Business Council which is now assisting with their future strategy in the market. The company believes that there is still a significant untapped potential in India as it secures more orders from existing customers. Due to customer demand, DT&G is also working in partnership with the University of Lancaster on new product developments and will soon be launching a new system into the industry. As a result, Lyn looks forward to returning to India, in the non-too distant future to introduce these product developments into the Indian market.