Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chocovision (Rev X and Delta Tempering Machines) imploded?

I was just informed that Mike, the engineer, was let go. Mike was finally getting the product on the right road. I don't have my Delta but it never really worked. However, with Mike gone there is no one to take the company and the technology forward. That means when I grow I'll be moving to Hilliard . Hilliard has a great workstation product that looks like it will be a big help.

I just had a phone conversation with Joe, the chocolatier. He really knows his stuff. Joe assured me that the reason that Mike was let go was personality differences rather than the company imploding. It's nice to know that I haven't bought a paperweight. He says that Mike will be replaced. I am very sorry to see Mike go. Without the three thermister upgrades, I don't see the Delta ever working. The Rev X now has those upgrades and the card upgrades. It's a great machine in its class.

I also just had a email from Ian, their GM, who once again says that I can get a full refund so that I can go with Hilliard. What a nice guy! I told him that indeed I would stay with the Rev X, which works, until and unless they do the card upgrades and hardware to the Delta. At this point, I am swamped with orders and need something. When the dust settles, I can decide how I want to grow. I was so looking forward to the new machines. Sigh. I guess I'll have to use with the Rev X.

You see, I understand these situations. Having met and worked with Mike, he was probably being the engineer that he is, worrying more about quality than the niceties of business. Having been a VP of Engineers, a COO and a CEO, and having been an engineer, I can understand what a pain engineers can be with their ideas of quality etc. But, in my day, and even today, it's an attitude I not only understand but appreciate. If an engineer rolls over to meet foolish deadlines and creates a bad product, what do you have? You have a bad product. If you have read the blog, you know what I'm talking about.

It's about confidence. It's about the product. It's about getting it right. It's about the customer. Mike understood that. Joe understands that. I'm sure Mike will find another job and enrich the company he works at. I'm very sorry he no longer works at ChocoVision. They've lost a great resource. Too bad I'm no longer in the industry or I'd hire Mike immediately.

Well, it may be time to start comparing tempering machines. I'd like to get to take a look at the Hilliard show room.

--- Later ---

I just found out that Hilliard doesn't have a show room and are building to spec right now. Building, QA/QE and shipping as fast as they can go. I guess I'll have to see their products at the Philadelphia National Candy, Gift and Gourmet Show.

--- Later Still ---

Well, I talked to Mike and it seems that he was getting along with everyone. It seems that ChocoVision is behind in their Rev 1 and Rev 2 tempering machine orders. Dove chocolate and Hershey's uses them a lot in their satellite stores. They basically laid off the one guy who knew how to improve the Delta and the Rev X in order to hire more assembly people. And we know under the pressure of a big order what happens to quality control. Remember, Mike was the engineer putting the quality into the process and the product.

Ian, the GM, General Manager, is going to get me a Rev X with the three thermister upgrade. We shall see. I'm thinking maybe I should just get my money back and go over to Hilliard because I don't think I'll be getting my machine anytime soon.

Here's an interesting discussion on eGullet.org.

--- Even Later ---

I just talked to Rick and he said he was Mike's replacement. So, I assume he is an engineer and not just an assembler. I believe he even said, "I'm the engineer who is replacing Mike." I'm glad to hear it for two reasons. One is I want my Delta back and the other is I want ChocoVision to succeed. I love their product when it works. The Delta is fantastic.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Katie said...

Hello Mike!

I stumbled on your blog while trying to find a solution to my Rev Delta issues. I just got my precious tempering machine in the mail, prepared my fillings and went to start up the machine - but the keypad doesn't work. Oh, and it was JUST past 5pm on a Friday.... so customer service won't be around to help until Monday! I've spoken with Joe, who you mentioned and he thinks there is some kind of mechanical issue. Just my luck with Christmas time fast approaching!

I was wondering what kind of issues you have had with your Delta and if they have been able to resolve any? Have you gotten your machine back yet? It is my biggest nightmare to be without this machine for all the orders this time of year!

Take care,

Katie

December 14, 2007 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger Mark by Chocolate said...

Take a deep breath. Remain calm. Now for the good news, if the machine has not blown out its heater, which happens way too often, you may be able to just let it sit for an hour or 12 and then start it up tomorrow. I've been with out my Delta for months now.

The Delta is very tempermental. Basically, you're screwed. I'm still waiting for my Rev Delta. It'll be number 3 or 4, I can't remember. I was working with Mike but he got canned. Mike tells me before they let him go that he was just a few days from getting me a working and fixed Delta. Rick is on it and he may be able to do it. I don't know.

I think ChocoVision is more concerned right now with their Dove and Hersey's contract which are the Rev 1s and 2s. I think mostly 2s.


I hear you. I am without my Delta right now and I am tempering by hand. Luckily I was able to create a lot of chocolates and have a bunch stored up. Enough to maybe see me through. I just emailed Ian, who thinks I'm a pain and am making up these problems, to ask when I might get my three thermister Delta. That's the one you want. Everything else will eventually fail.

I was using my Delta so often that I had it failing once a week or once a month. How long have you had your Delta?

I was working with Mike to get the Delta fixed. I was his offsite QA. I have a lot of experience in HW and SW, so, QA/QE is second nature to me.

Right now, I know the three thermister Rev X is out in production and Rick, Mike's friend, basically Mike brought Rick on as a contractor, says that he's been able to complete the three thermister Delta.

I would email or call Ian. Ian@chocovision.com. But then, he'll probably also think you're just a pain in the ass.

The only thing I can think of telling you is: hand temper and get in touch with ChocoVision. I've had this problem and it may get better on its own but it is also the signal for the beginning of the end.

When my company gets bigger, we just opened last month and we've had an order of magnitude growth, I'm going to go with a $10K Hilliard workstation such as the 6 inch dipper. I'll be going to the Philly Show to see it.

ChocoVision machines are great but not reliable. When they work, they are fantastic. When they don't work, they just don't work.

If you send in your Delta, be prepared to wait months to get a new machine. Though, ChocoVision is pretty good about helping their customers. I don't think their engineering practices are all that good, especially with Mike gone.

BTW, my name is Mark.

Luck.

December 14, 2007 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Mark by Chocolate said...

Also, Check Design and Realisation too. http://www.dr.ca/ They have a lot of great stuff.

December 14, 2007 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Mark by Chocolate said...

Katie,

Whatever did happen? I am still Delta-less. Ian says they're testing my machine now. Sure, sure.

What's up with you?

December 23, 2007 at 12:14 AM  

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