Confectionary Holding is one of the oldest Spanish companies still existing today, but is experiencing an important evolution stage and is looking forward to increasing its global market penetration.

The organisation has a presence in more than 50 countries and many layers of history, having been formed in 1725, and it now takes the form of a conglomerate comprised of seven companies.

Two of these manage all manufacturing and commercialising activities; two manage the raw materials such as almonds; another oversees the management of the brands and its evolution and the last two in the group manage the financial aspects and real estate assets such as factory buildings.

Andrés Cortijos, Deputy General Manager & Value Chain Director, said: “Confectionary Holding is one of the most globally prominent Spanish groups in the confectionery industry. We are heavily involved in the Spanish and South American industry and our main markets are Europe, South America and the United States, with a presence in Asia and Australia too.

“We are in an important growth phase, one of our most important projects is organising corporate online sales so we are building a corporate website.

“We produce an internal product portfolio showcasing Turron, a sweet made of almonds. We also produce chocolate bars, marzipans, bon-bons, nougats and traditional Spanish sweets that we commercialise mainly at Christmas; it is a wide portfolio.”

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Confectionary Holding’s facilities are comprised of two factories in Spain; one in Alicante where it produces the products based on almonds and another one in the south of Spain, Alcaudete (Jaén), where it produces chocolate and other Spanish specialities. As part of its vertical integration process it also has facilities in Chile and Morocco where it sources raw materials such as the almonds.

Competitive agility

The company has around 180 full-time employees but due to the nature of the business, increases this number seasonally on some of its more popular product lines. Christmas for example is a peak time for Confectionary Holding and it needs a quick response to the market, so it saw an obligation to integrate suppliers and minimise time. It is becoming a more aligned and agile supply chain.

With nearly five million kilograms worth of confectionary being produced each year, and having created almond products since 1725, it can be a mammoth task to manage.

Cortijos said: “I have been with the company since 2008, where I was the Operations and Supply Chain Manager. But we started to change the group two years ago, trying to integrate our supply chain more to our market and our customers and improve the value chain.

“Due to this process I became The Deputy General Manager & Value Chain Director, supervising the whole Value Chain, not just the operational areas but also procurement, manufacturing and logistics including the commercial areas.

“We have a close relationship with our suppliers, most of them are happy to participate and provide support. We have developed extensive relationships based on collaboration, integrating systems, sharing philosophy, promoting saving incentives and just trying to create win-win relationships.”

Anticipating consumer demand and the way Confectionary Holding manages this demand is linked to capacity. With good scheduling it strives to develop processes and has trained middle management employees on how to make company factories more flexible and productive.

The ability to retain agility in an ever shifting working environment, in terms of level and type of confectionary produced and the number of workers on different sections, is crucial for the organisation. All seasonal workers are trained during off-peak times to ensure they understand new processes and methodologies to achieve standardisation across the workforce.

This proactive and agile approach to business extends to transport, where products are shipped by vessels in containers, to destinations across the globe. In terms of transportation in other continents it depends on the kind of resources available and the penetration of the product. In some countries it outsources to distributors, in stronger countries it has staff there who work closely to store and commercialise its products.

Brand strengthening

The next few years will see the firm seek further penetration into emerging markets, working to solidify relationships with customers and suppliers alike, and there is even the intention to expand the portfolio and bring new confectionery into its product range.

Cortijos said: “We have a mainly low presence in Asian countries, and we think that China is an important international market in terms of our confectionery products. We see it representing one of our more important challenges in terms of market opportunity in the coming years. At the same time we will be working to consolidate our presence in existing markets.

“We are going to bring fresh products to our range in the near future. During the last decade we have developed capabilities to be a diverse manufacturer inside the confectionery industry, acquiring the capabilities in practically all the facets of the industry.

“Now we are trying to create new products within these lines with new ingredients, packaging and so on but always our first step is in the interests of our customers, because without them we would not be here. We can see and live the evolution that we are currently experiencing as a group, and that is something that still excites us even being a company with such a long and illustrious history.”

The close relationship Confectionary Holding has with its customers, distributors and suppliers is yet another positive feature of the group. It relies on highly trained professionals in the confectionary industry who know the needs of the customers and they use the feedback to lead on its innovations process.

In terms of volume its main ingredients are almonds, chocolate and sugar. Although these are highly unlikely to change, the company is perfecting brand new produce in partnership with educational and R&D institutes where they both strive to develop unique confectionary.

“I think this value chain integration is going to position us a global confectionery group and our idea is try to be more international. We’ll try to develop our capabilities of introducing ourselves to a new market, offering local products to a local flavour and meeting differing demands of the customers.” Cortijos concluded.

“We have a lot of potential throughout the world.”

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