Alpha Baking Co. equipment
When a new piece of equipment comes in, Alpha Baking Co. records the tech person as they demonstrate how the machine is supposed to operate.

What’s the key to a smooth startup?

“When a new piece of equipment comes in, we record the tech person as they demonstrate how the machine is supposed to operate,” noted Larry Marcucci, president and chief executive officer, Alpha Baking Co., Chicago. “The nice thing about a video recording is that digital storage is relatively cheap, and the millennials love to watch that stuff. Once you record it, you can use it to later train a second shift. The tech person doesn’t need to return. You don’t have multiple training sessions and ‘training the trainer’ where you might have degeneration of information over time.”

Pan Pepin, Bayamon, P.R., took it a step further and even recorded the factory acceptance test for its new tortilla line.

“Our operations people brought their iPads to video everything, and they told the vendor, ‘We want to make sure this is what we see once we install it,’” said Mario Somoza, the bakery’s president. “When installing new equipment, we also use FaceTime and Skype. Because we’re in Puerto Rico, we can’t get a tech guy to our bakeries easily. Our maintenance and engineering people use their iPads or iPhones to show the vendor’s tech people what is happening with a piece of equipment. Once, on a routine call for a new mixer, the tech guy in Ohio detected something that wasn’t right just through seeing it on a FaceTime call. With training, we’re also recording everything and keeping it on the file.

Find out more insights in Baking & Snack’s Engineering Roundtable, which appears in Sosland Publishing’s IBIE PreShow Guide that’s being mailed to readers and attendees of the show, set for Oct. 8-11 in Las Vegas.