Keys to success

Speaking to World Grain, sister publication to Milling & Baking News, prior to the banquet, Brian Doyle said the reasons for the company’s longevity were its ability to customize its flour production for the exact needs of its customers, being vigilant about reinvesting its profits back into the business and putting family relationships at the top of the priority list.

Brian said he and his cousins, Jim Doyle, senior vice-president, and Steve Doyle, vice-president, have heard the horror stories of other family businesses falling apart over petty personal disagreements and are resolute in not letting that happen at King Milling.

“The family part is important,” Brian Doyle said. “It is very important that Jim, Steve and I get along and hopefully pass that along to our kids. It is a family business first and a business second.”

Two other principles that have been passed down through the generations are being debt averse and reinvesting profits, Brian Doyle said.

“We’ve plowed almost every dollar back into the business,” he said. “We’ve tried to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology. We were one of the very first milling companies to use pneumatic conveying back in the 1960s. We were one of the very first mills to run automated back in 1982.”

And as any King Milling customer can attest, the company always has been willing to go to any lengths to customize its flour products to meet the needs of its clients.

“We are not one of the big milling companies so we have to be nimble,” Brian Doyle said. “One nice thing about being a small mill is we can be nimble. We mill a lot of different products, different flours and different wheats. We blend it and produce the flour that the customer wants.”

Ms. Havard said King Milling’s ability to deliver a very specific type of flour is critical to her company’s success.

“We actually have our own special blend,” she said. “They will accommodate anything you need, especially when the new wheat crop comes in. They are very cognizant of working with us and getting the right protein blends to make it work.”

Whether it’s customers, suppliers or employees, King Milling boasts numerous long-term relationships. Nearly half of the company’s 50 employees have been with King Milling for 10 or more years. And all of the company’s 13 retired employees who are still living worked for the company 16 years or longer.

Brian Doyle noted that many of the company’s customers have bought King Milling flour for decades, and it has purchased wheat from one of its suppliers for 100 years, and in return, sells midds back to that supplier. King Milling has even used the same accounting firm since 1917.