With iba 2015 quickly approaching, many bakers are finalizing their plans for attending the show, which runs Sept. 12-17 in Munich, Germany. For co-manufacturers, investing in new equipment can be a tricky proposition because it involves predicting the future. Sometimes new products don’t do as well as expected and get removed from the market. Other times, the launch is so successful that a client decides to bring production in-house.

It’s a challenge determining whether a new product will end up being a longstanding project or not. Not everybody is a psychic. As a result, some companies call retired equipment “lawn furniture” because it just sits around taking up space in the plant.

Vince Nasti, vice-president of operations, Nation Pizza and Foods, Schaumburg, Ill., has his own term.

“I refer to (the equipment) as ‘boat anchors,’” he said. “Furniture you can still use. Boat anchors — you have to be very careful with them.”

As a result, versatility remains a top priority when justifying the purchase of a new system.

“You have to make sure that you’re going to have the same business six months to a year from now, or that the equipment can be used in another fashion,” Mr. Nasti said. “That’s the delicate balance we face.” For more on Nation Pizza and Foods, check out the May issue ofBaking & Snackmagazine.