Updated: Apr 1
"To offer a superior product at a good cost, you have to keep ahead of the track," says Ashley Campher, Cape Natural Tea Products' Group Technology Executive.
In 2021, Ashley celebrated 15 years of service at CNTP. "In the 15 years that I've been here, Cape Natural Tea Products has undergone significant growth and development," he says, "when I started here we were 13 guys on the floor, now we're more than 100."
With this significant growth has come great challenges in expanding manufacturing capacity and warehousing space. "With growth comes challenges, but that's what keeps it exciting. It's what wakes me up in the morning. There's never a dull moment," he says with a smile.
As Group Technology Executive, Ashley oversees continuous improvement projects to ensure maximum efficiency and quality across our production processes. From supervising the construction of three new stores at our agri depots, to introducing new machinery and equipment to improve quality and efficiency, Ashley has his hands full.
"We're always trying to develop equipment that will yield more useable product as well as improved quality. Because it's an agricultural product, the yields change based on rainfall, terrain, and processing practices. Adapting our equipment regularly to accommodate these changes is critical."
There's no how-to-guide in the Rooibos industry, Ashley says. Standard manufacturing
equipment needs to be adapted in-house to perform functions that are tailored to the Rooibos manufacturing process. In doing so, he works hand-in-hand with production manager Willie Wium and the master tea-makers at the processing courts.
Ashley also works closely with our Research and Development team to set up the manufacturing lines of new products. For example, he played a key role in setting up our Rosehips processing line. "It's a difficult product to work with, but the bigger the challenge, the more exciting it becomes."
"We want to be the best in the industry," he says, "the only way we can achieve that is by continually improving."