Running down a dream

For Mr. Zakian, designing the bakery from scratch allowed him to leverage a lifetime of experience in the industry. During his career, he built two bakeries, expanded one other and renovated, modified or installed 12 more production lines across several bakeries. He borrowed best practices and intelligent concepts from bakeries he visited throughout the years in Europe, Japan, Canada and the US.

“It’s not too often that you get a blank piece of paper and you’re asked to design a bakery,” he said. “I took the best of the best when designing this bakery.” His best practices included the sanitary design of equipment and the separate production rooms. From his experience, Mr. Zakian recognized that sanitation would be the pinnacle for success of its food safety program.

Mr. Zakian initiated the thoughtful 6-month design process by sizing out the flatbread room, the largest of the bakery production areas. “With a lot of production systems, you can put bends in the process, but with the nature of the flatbread process, from the time you sheet it out, you need to keep it in one straight line,” he explained. “I used the length of that line to design the size of the production room and built out the rest of the facility from there.”

Looking at the blueprint of the plant, Mr. Zakian described how the four individual production rooms make up the core or heart of the bakery and how support services surround them, being set along the perimeter of the building. Where possible, Specialty Bakery compartmentalized departments and centralized functions along the perimeter to ensure quality, enhance food safety and streamline operations. Each production room has its own QA test bake lab staffed with highly skilled test bakers. This gives operations the advantage of real-time product performance and analytical data. Specialty Bakery is using statistical process controls to drive process capability delivering superior quality products.

In addition to departments for maintenance, engineering, sanitation and warehousing, Mr. Zakian placed all of the silos in one room to better control the temperature of the flour and sugar. He then consolidated sifting into the room next door to simplify preventive maintenance and allow the bakery to check the tailing buckets for any foreign matter after each shift.

All traffic runs in what can be best described as an oblong roadway, or corridor, that encircles the central production rooms and separates them from the perimeter support areas. “We don’t have any forklift or foot traffic going through the production rooms,” Mr. Zakian explained.

To gain access into the production areas, bakers need a key fob. “The only bakers who are in these rooms are those who actually belong there,” he added. “For food safety, you really want to minimize access to the product.”