A different kind of bakery

by Laurie Gorton
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In addition to physically expanding at Nashville Bun Company (NBC), the company actively works on improving its already impressive business culture. It recently established an operating philosophy based on core values. What’s evolving from this is a different kind of bakery.

“The concept of core values is relatively new to us as a company,” said Cordia Harrington, CEO, Tennessee Bun Company (TBC), Nashville, TN. “They have been practiced repeatedly but never actually defined and published.” The company’s core values, she said, are People, Product and Profit.

“We understand how our core values help us make better decisions that guide us in achieving the growth plan for the enterprise,” she said.

The new biscuit line embodies the core values in the following ways. As Ms. Harrington explained, it was created to 1) continually improve and provide secure employment for People; 2) make Product that meets customer specifications and that the company is proud to serve; and 3) provide Profit and capacity to achieve the overall growth plan.

By the way, NBC currently employs 150 people. Bringing on the new line resulted in 30 additional hires, with an eventual total of 100 planned new positions.

The core values also affect how the business’ managers view their responsibilities.

“We don’t think of ourselves as just a bakery,” said JR Wilson, director of engineering, TBC. “We are a motivated, sophisticated manufacturing organization handling baked goods.”

Customer relationships were cited by Alan Edington, general manager, NBC, and vice-president of operations, TBC. “The largest difference between us and other companies continues to be our desire to find out what the customer wants and willingness to make it happen in a timely fashion.” He noted that TBC’s process of new product development proceeds very quickly, with bakery experts working in concert with production staff and bringing in packaging and ingredient vendors. The business operates on a very short timeline from concept to production.

More than any other factor, however, is the quality of the leadership. “This bakery is different because its work force takes on the personality of our owner and has the willingness to do whatever it takes for the customer,” said Clint Adams, bakery consultant for NBC. “This allows the team and the processes to be very flexible.”
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