Posted by: Matthew Molinari | April 30, 2012

The Healthy Chocolate

Tonight I had the opportunity to visit the Xocai Healthy Chocolate (pronounced Show-Sigh)warehouse in Reno, NV. I had never heard of the company before tonight but I was very impressed with Andrew Brooks who is the Founder and COO.

Over the 2 hours I spent on site, Andrew spoke to our group about a myriad of items ranging from his experience of having his previous company sell products to Wal-Mart to what he thinks of social media (not a big fan).

Here are two of the more interesting things I came away with:

1) Their chocolate melts around 74 degrees which is much lower than other chocolates. This is due to the fact that Xocai chocolate does not have waxes and other additives that raise the melting temperature. This means their chocolate will melt in your hand and will most certainly melt in a shipping container if not properly stored. This presents a potential problem that  means Xocai must take special precautions in packaging.

In order to ensure the safe transport, Xocai’s warehouse has a flash freezer on site that is kept at a chilly 40 degrees below zero. The freezer stores both products as well as ice packs that are then packaged with the chocolate to ensure the packages stay at the proper temperature.

One of the main issues that the company still faces is that some of their containers are still styrofoam based to help keep the chocolate cool. While it is the most effective manner to ship them Xocai is more than aware of the sustainability issue that the packaging presents.

2) The company utilizes a warehouse management system that helps to minimize their shipping costs by detailing out which packaging box should be used for each unique order. Xocai is a network marketing company which means they do not sell their product in retail stores. Instead, they rely on others to sell their product for them (think Tupperware or Mary Kay).

This means that they deal with a lot of different sized orders that must be shipped out. Xocai holds all the inventory and ships the products out as their independent distributors make sales. They can not plan for consistent orders of the same size leaving the warehouse each day because of this. When you sell to someone like Wal-Mart you can package your shipments on pallets and it is more of a one size fits all approach.

Xocai has a WMS that allows them to plug-in what the order is and it calculates which box should be used to ship the order. By doing this, they are able to minimize the amount of empty space in each box which means they also eliminate the amount of empty space on every truck and plane that they ship out on.

In the beginning, the company had picnic tables set up with employees determining which box would work best for each order. As the company grew, they actually used the experience of these employees to help set up the WMS.

Overall it was a great experience and I learned a lot from a very passionate and extremely smart owner. I always love an opportunity to get out and see supply chain techniques in action. What are some places you’ve visited that helped you see things first hand?

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Hey Matt, thanks for the interesting information! Especially the part about how to pronounce it– I’ve always wondered!

    • Thanks for the comment Sara. It was a really interesting experience not to mention the fact that it ended with a tasting. I’m really looking forward to trying their energy drink next.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: