Google “Marshall Maddox,” and one of the first hits you’ll find has “inventor” before his name. That’s because in 2010, Mr. Maddox, chief product ­officer for The Bakery Cos. and Baking & Snack’s 2019 Operations Executive of the Year, was awarded a U.S. patent for his system that uses data to measure efficiency in dough extrusion.

“I had a couple of engineers working alongside me on this project,” Mr. Maddox recalled. “We were working on a state-of-the-art data acquisition system in one of our plants at Sara Lee (before it was acquired by Bimbo Bakeries USA). We were acquiring data off the line that had never been aggregated in that amount of information.”

The team discovered some unique patterns in the readings that sparked a three-day discussion about how to interpret such deviations.

“We got great support from Sara Lee to move forward with understanding what was going on, and we had some great conclusions,” he said. “From there, we ended up filing a patent.”

After several tests, Mr. Maddox and his team reconfigured and redesigned certain equipment with specific modifications based on the patent.

Today, it’s still in use for production of certain Sara Lee items and has set the foundation for several data acquisition projects at The Bakery Cos.

Details on the technology Mr. Maddox developed may be found by searching Patent No. 8,579,494.