BERWYN, ILL. — During the 14 months it took to install the newest bun and roll line at the Turano Baking plant in Orlando, Fla., Leo Desrosiers kept on hearing — and sometimes repeating — the same thing over and over again.
“The three words that we heard throughout the whole process were, ‘Are you serious?’ ” recalled the vice-president of operations, southern region, for the Berwyn-based family-owned and operated company.
Typically, such a question becomes more of a symptomatic response when a business ambitiously pushes the envelope on a project. For Turano Baking, it evolved into a rhetorical device after the company constantly challenged the Orlando management team to test the limits on technology, engineering and innovation to design a mind-bending, multipurpose solution to a host of opportunities and challenges (For a slideshow, click here).
Today, the second line, which started up in mid-2014 in the 82,000-square-foot facility, cranks out 4,000 dozen soft buns and premium rolls per hour. That’s slightly fewer than the 5,400 dozen an hour on the original line installed in 2009. As so often is the case, however, the numbers simply don’t tell the whole story. Back in 2012, way before “Are you serious?” became so popular, Turano Baking needed to answer a few big-picture questions to add strategic direction to the new initiative.
“We had choices to make on this line,” noted Joe Turano, president. “Do we duplicate the highest speed line as we had in the original line? Or do we install a line that may not have the full capacity of the original line but will allow us to provide some flexibility and variety to our product lines?
“We chose the path of flexibility and variety on a line that’s still considered a high-speed system. It just doesn’t produce to the full capacity per hour as the original one does.”
That answer then sparked a slew of other inquiries about how to ensure the bakery could quickly respond to its customers’ needs in the years to come.
“We put a lot of thought into future use,” observed Jeff Kozloski, chief engineer. “When we designed the line, we did a lot of ‘what ifs.’ What if we want more topping equipment? What if we want different packaging? What if we want spraying options after the oven? We wanted to make sure we left enough room and kept enough open area around certain parts of the line for future projects.”
To answer the “what ifs,” industry veterans Mr. Desrosiers, Mr. Kozloski and Jack Mitchell, now Orlando plant manager, collaborated closely with vendors to iron out the scope and details of the new project. In some cases, they sought input from line operators and supervisors as well as the leadership teams at Turano Baking’s three other bakeries, located in Berwyn and Bolingbrook, Ill., and Villa Rica, Ga. They also visited other baking companies to observe new equipment or processes in action.
At Turano Baking, the door swings both ways when it comes to knowledge-sharing.
“We can lean on other bakers we know for ideas, innovations and best practices, and we make sure we do the same for them,” Mr. Mitchell said.
While collaboration remains integral to the company’s culture, so does ownership when it comes to completing a project of this magnitude.
“We designed this bakery,” Mr. Kozloski emphasized. “We’re not putting up with problems that someone else created. Everything we did, we’ve done to ourselves. There are no second thoughts on this project.”