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Food safety at the heart of Olam Cocoa

ERIKS has been a contract partner of Dutch firm, Olam Cocoa since 2017. This means, among others, that we supply spare parts and manage the picking inventory in two warehouses. But also that we advise on the purchase and use of the right hoses, seals, valves and gaskets. We also think along proactively when it comes to food safety in the production process.

Secagem dos grãos de Cacau (Theobroma cacao); Malvaceae
Cacau (Theobroma cacao); Malvaceae


Olam Cocoa processes cocoa beans into various semi-finished products, such as cocoa powder, cocoa butter and cocoa mass. The company is part of the Olam Group, a food multinational with more than 30,000 employees worldwide. Olam Cocoa has plants in Koog aan de Zaan and in Wormer in the Netherlands, with several large production lines and some 400 employees. The company is one of the largest in the industry worldwide.

"Making the cocoa semi-finished products is a complex process," says Martin de Groot, Quality Manager at Olam. "It is extremely important throughout the production process, to work in a food-safe manner. To have and keep everything under control. Because there are quite a few risks: for example, undesired presence of materials in the delivered cocoa beans, risks in terms of microbiology, allergenic risks and chemical risks due to contaminants, for example."

Engineering stores management and application knowledge

Picking inventory management and application knowledge

The cooperation with ERIKS has been long term for many years, but really became a partnership when Olam decided in 2017 to reduce the number of suppliers and choose one technical partner with added value. ERIKS then became a total supplier to Olam. "And since then that means: providing the entire MRO needs and the picking inventory. We make sure that all the required materials are present or arranged in the factories," says Eelco van den Broek, Account Manager at ERIKS and the lynchpin at Olam. "With the Application Engineers for the technical questions and a dedicated inside sales force, we form a nice and solid account team, which is available for Olam on a daily basis."

"Since our partnership in 2017, we have achieved nice savings. For example, by optimizing various production processes and better regulating the picking inventory with a two-bin system. In addition, our knowledge and expertise has been used to improve applications such as conveyors, electric motors, hoses, valves and seals."

ERIKS is also proactively involved in the operational work in Koog aan de Zaan and Wormer, De Groot sees to his satisfaction. "The people at ERIKS know what is going on in the market, see all the developments. That is why they are able to give good advice on new materials or products. They do so regularly and we can benefit from that."

Food safety high on the agenda

De Groot visited ERIKS in Alkmaar at the time and was given a presentation on food safety. He was immediately impressed. "At a company like Olam, (food) safety comes first. It would be unthinkable for something to go wrong during production. During the presentation it became clear that ERIKS not only has all the relevant certificates but also the required expertise. And that also became clear to me: ERIKS is a reliable and an expert partner," says De Groot. "An important advantage here is that they have knowledge of all the compliance and regulations that apply to our industry."

A few examples of what ERIKS has done for Olam in concrete terms: the cocoa manufacturer asked ERIKS to standardise the complete package of flange gaskets. This involved food safety, so an EC1935/2004 certificate was a requirement. In addition, ERIKS advised Olam on the right valve selection for applications with cocoa mass and cocoa butter.

voedselveiligheidsinspectie voor Olam Cocoa

The cocoa beans are separated from unwanted materials immediately upon arrival from the ships at Olam. 

"Great and applicable examples," says Eelco van den Broek. "With our know-how we offer demonstrable added value." De Groot agrees. "At ERIKS they are professional and knowledgeable. And what's nice is that they are transparent and open to discussion. Collaborating will deliver the right approach. It characterizes the way Eelco and his colleagues work."

Account Manager ERIKS en Quality Manager Olam op de productielocatie van Olam Cocoa

Eelco van den Broek (Account Manager ERIKS) and Martin de Groot (Quality Manager Olam) at the Olam Cocoa production location in Koog aan de Zaan.


Expert advice on food regulations

Crucial to the relationship between Olam and ERIKS is the willingness to cooperate. "We are acting as a full partner with Olam," says Eelco van den Broek. "In our opinion that delivers the most benefits for both parties." De Groot couldn't agree more. "We do have discussions about what the best solution to a particular problem is. We can have different approaches but as equal discussion partners. The great thing is: ERIKS then challenges us with further questions. Why do you want this particular solution and how do you see it in concrete terms? They can explain to us, based on the regulations and technical details, why for example that particular valve or hygienic seal is the best solution. Based on such a process, we can then arrive at the best choice together. It's great to cooperate like this."

Identifying risks

In the coming period, De Groot plans to invest in better mapping out the risks of Olam's production processes. Where can something go wrong and what can be done about it. "We will then look at whether and how we need to adjust the processes and process components. Of course, we are making use of ERIKS' knowledge and expertise. They can help us use the right parts and materials. They can monitor compliance with regulations - including those for food safety. And they help us optimize processes and daily maintenance. In short, more than enough to do - I look forward to it."

For more information or to get in touch with a dedicated Application Engineer, please contact your local ERIKS Service Centre, who will be happy to discuss your options.

#Olam #ERIKS #LetsMakeIndustryWorkBetter #Food #FoodSafety #ApplicationEngineering

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