Investing in new equipment can be a tricky proposition, especially for a co-manufacturer that has a wide variety of customers and can’t predict how the business might change when the next opportunity comes knocking at the door.

Deciding to add a new makeup line or packaging system can result in a costly mistake, especially if that equipment was intended for a customer who eventually takes their business elsewhere or changes to another new product or package.

“With all of our capital expenditures, we buy equipment that will benefit all customers or bring in new business,” said Russ Case, chief executive officer, Fantasy Cookie Co. “We buy used equipment, but they’re usually wrapping and cartoning machines. I don’t think we’ll buy a used oven. Ovens, if they’re taken care of, last a long time, and if you buy a new one that’s automated, there’s no hands-on adjusting, so you take the guesswork and human error out of baking, and they’re so much easier to operate.”

Fantasy Cookie is installing a Reading Bakery Systems oven with recipe controls that preset burners, dampers and more with the touch of a button.

The system also comes with more consistent thermal baking capabilities, enhanced safety features and greater energy efficiency than the smaller ovens they’re replacing.

“Everything now is manual, and the operators know exactly what to do,” he said. “The new line has a recipe system with cutting speeds, bake times, bake temperatures and everything. If the first formula is for rotary cookies, we just punch in a code.”

However, if a customer requires a specific machine for their product, Mr. Case said, Fantasy Cookie has two options. The customer can either buy the equipment, or Fantasy Cookie will and add the expenditure to the customer’s monthly bill.

This article is an excerpt from the April 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Fantasy Cookie Co., click here.