Turano Baking: Baking by the Numbers
by Dan Malovany
It doesn’t matter if they’re Italian rounds, Vienna loaves, French rolls or even soft buns. When it comes to ensuring product quality, controlling consistency and meeting customer expectations, Turano Baking Co. plays it by the numbers.
That’s the biggest development that Joe Turano has noticed since he joined the family bakery 12 years ago. Back then, Turano Baking was primarily a Chicagoland-based company, but during the past three years, it’s opened new plants in Villa Rica, GA, and Orlando, FL, to go along with its 40-year-old facility in Berwyn, IL, and 20-year-old bakery in Bolingbrook, IL. In becoming a multi-state production operation, he said, the emphasis during the past year has been to focus on processes, standard operating procedures and running its products more consistently across the company.
“For quality assurance data entry, we have a customized program where we are able to take quantitative data as we’re producing it on each line and plug it into the touch screens at each plant, and we’re tracking production from the beginning to the end of the process,” said Joe, the company’s north region operations director, which includes the Chicago-area plants. “We’re capturing the data in the same light at each of our plants. That way, we can report any quality or quantitative data from a quality or numerical standpoint and evaluate everything in a similar manner.”
Production runs the gamut and ranges from stress-free manufacture of its signature Pane Turano Italian bread in Berwyn and par-baked frozen French roll production in Bolingbrook to a high-speed sandwich bread operation in Villa Rica and conventional hamburger buns in Orlando. “Just because they’re different products doesn’t mean you don’t judge them the same way when it comes to quality,” noted Les Messina, vice-president, operations. “We have similar specifications for the types of products we’re producing based on quality in the Turano perspective. We have all different types of products, but not a different method for evaluating them. Obviously, going from just Chicago-based operations to [running them in] other states, we had to look at how we keep control and monitor them all similarly.”
EYES ON CONTROLS.
Overall, the organization relies on a combination of centralized and decentralized controls. Each plant operates as its own profit center overseen by a general manager and plant manager, but the company also uses a combination of local and corporate managers to monitor its operations and ensure that its standards are met.
Additionally, Turano Baking conducts quarterly audits of each of its facilities with a team that includes representatives from its maintenance, sanitation, QA, safety, security, HR and environmental departments. Purchasing is centrally run along with input from each facility’s general and plant managers, added Slavica Jaros, corporate procurement manager. Capital expenditures as well as other ideas for improving plant operations generally travel from the line supervisors to each plant’s central committee to a corporate committee in Berwyn for evaluation and approval.
On a day-to-day basis, the company relies increasingly on the Internet and its intranet to seamlessly exchange data and information from the corporate headquarters in Berwyn to its other operations. During the past few years, the company not only invested to build an IT network from the ground up at its state-of-the-art facilities in the Southeast, but it also upgraded its network in its Chicagoland plants, said Anthony Turano, MIS director. While all equipment in its Georgia and Florida operations are interconnected, that’s still an ongoing process in the company’s more mature facilities, but it made significant progress during the past two years.
“It’s more of a challenge to make sure the older facilities are up to speed as they should be, while also making sure these facilities and the new facilities have a similar level of infrastructure,” Anthony said. The company now uses its IT network to monitor everything from production scheduling to packaging and distribution using touch-screen controls at its plants.
In Chicago, where it offers fresh distribution throughout the region, Turano Baking recently upgraded its handheld system with customized software that allows route operators to take orders from customers, adjust orders and print out invoices on the spot and even collect receivables and print receipts on the road, according to Sandra Battersby, vice-president, finance. She added that a major challenge with a multi-state production system involves monitoring all of the different government regulations.
In the end, expanding across the nation requires continued improvements to the company’s network and constantly evolving controls. “There is no cookie cutter solution to what we do here,” Joe explained.
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