Business is Sweet
Last Tuesday, nine Lower Sixth Form Business students, Mrs Nadin, and Mrs Rhodes visited Pecan Deluxe in Sherburn in Elmet. Pecan Deluxe is a successful family owned business currently operating in West Yorkshire, Thailand and Texas. In the next few years, they are hoping to expand into the South American market.
We were greeted by Graham, the CEO, who gave us a really interesting presentation about the business and then we all asked some questions about Pecan Deluxe. The presentation gave us a lot of knowledge about Pecan Deluxe and business in general. Pecan Deluxe make inclusions such as ‘cookie dough’ and ‘caramel cups’ for ice creams and also provide fillings and toppings for the bakery and drinks market. These act to add value to the ice cream, cake or drink that they go into and allow their customers to sell a differentiated product that gives them a competitive advantage. Some of their customers include Ben and Jerry’s, Häagen Dazs and Starbucks. He identified how the business marketed its products and stressed that the most important element of any business is its customer service. They pride themselves on providing not only a quality product but also great customer service; they offer a range of products but also work with customers to design unique fillings and inclusions that satisfy their customers’ needs. After our talk we went into the development kitchen, where we heard about the development of new products and we were taught properly how to taste the inclusions. We were then allowed to design our own chocolate lollies and ice cream.
It was also helpful to be able to apply the operational theory we had learnt in previous lessons to a real life example. We had a tour around the production facilities and learnt about the manufacturing process. Pecan Deluxe use a method of batch production and although have automation are still quite labour intensive. Quality is key to the process and they have a culture of ‘Total Quality Management’ where every employee is responsible for ensuring a quality product. The company suffer from seasonal demand on their ice cream related products with demand being much higher in summer, so this is a reason they have diversified to provide bakery products to help bring in revenue all year round, improving their cash flow. This seasonality means they use temporary workers to meet peaks in demand.
We ended our visit by having a buffet lunch provided by Pecan Deluxe and a further opportunity to ask questions. We all agreed it had been a very useful visit which has benefited our A Level studies. A big thank you must go to Pecan Deluxe for the time they spent with us and their generosity in allowing us to make our own products and providing us with lunch.
By Anna Peart and Francesca Huddleston, LVI.