King’s Hawaiian channeling its inner ‘racecar pit crew’

by Dan Malovany
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King's Hawaiian factory
King's Hawaiian explores a partnership with instructors from Lanier Technical College to explore the possibility of swapping equipment and switching product varieties quickly.

Many bakeries wish they could swap out equipment and switch over to another product variety with the lightning speed of a racecar pit crew. At King’s Hawaiian, they’re exploring how to do that by possibly partnering with instructors from Lanier Technical College, located about three miles from the company’s two Oakwood, Ga., bakeries.

A few months ago, Dave Phillips, the human resources manager, discovered Lanier offered car repair and actually graduated students to work on pit crews of motorcar racing. The classroom even had signed jerseys of some of the nation’s top racecar drivers.

Dave Phillips, King's Hawaiian
Dave Phillips, human resources manager for King's Hawaiian

“We’re working on a project on how to change out the K-head on the AMF divider,” Mr. Phillips said. “We want to find out how we can clean it, change it and replace it on the fly. We wanted to find out how NASCAR pit crews did this.”

King’s Hawaiian approached a training instructor to see if there was interest in the concept.

“The instructor thought it was a cool idea,” Mr. Phillips said. Now the bakery has an intern working with the teacher to see how to speed things up and shave minutes — even seconds — off the process. That certainly can be a potentially winning formula.

“That’s the sort of thinking that goes on a lot at this company,” noted John Linehan, executive vice-president, strategy and business development, King’s Hawaiian.

Check out the November issue of Baking & Snack magazine for more on King’s Hawaiian latest accomplishments.
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