Weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain problems and inflation challenged Dewey’s Bakery, but the supply chain is providing fewer surprises these days and moving back toward normal, said Tim Honeycutt, senior vice president of sourcing.
“I think COVID forced us to be more proactive with our communications with our suppliers,” he said. “Americans take it for granted: I want it, I buy it, I get it. That theory got thrown out the window real quick with respect to COVID and supplies. You need much more advanced planning and communication.”
The bakery’s planning team tracks inbound materials closely to ensure supplies are ready to meet production schedules.
“We don’t have an abundance of space, so we keep it pretty tight and are proactive in working with a wonderful vendor, and we plan our needs and ensure we’ve got what we want when we want,” Mr. Honeycutt said.
The maintenance team boasts a deep bench of talent handling most of the preventative maintenance (PM) and repairs on the bakery’s equipment. And the SQF facilities scored 96 and 97 during their annual food safety audits last year.
“We have a rigorous PM system,” explained David Catlett, chief operations officer. “There’s never a day when maintenance is not here. Even if the manufacturing facility is not in operation, that’s when we’re heavy on maintenance. That’s when we do our teardowns and rebuilds, just basic PMs to keep our equipment running top-notch.”
Production schedules begin with a monthly sales and operation processing meeting, which takes care of 80% of the planning. There are also daily meetings that include discussions about the previous day’s schedule and any issues that arose, along with that day’s plan and if production is keeping pace with expected output for the week.
“We have a production meeting every week, but we also talk about it every single day in our huddle,” Mr. Catlett said. “We shoot for a 14-day lock on our schedule, but it doesn’t always work. There’s often a curve ball that’s thrown.”
Because the business is growing so quickly, new requests, such as a grocery chain wanting to add end caps with Dewey’s products, often crop up and require production changes. Company leaders are eager to take advantage of those new opportunities.
“One of our great strengths is our ability to actually meet those interesting challenges that come up quickly, especially in this environment where not every company has been able to respond to that,” said Mike Senackerib, chief executive officer. “We pride ourselves on our ability to do that.”
One opportunity the company has embraced each year since 2012 is the chance to give back to its community through Dewey’s pop-up retail outlets. Charities in the Piedmont Triad region, which includes Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, last year ran more than 50 pop-up shops.
The pop-ups run for two to three months during the holidays. Mr. Senackerib estimated that charities have raised close to $5 million over the life of the program. The company also works with schools that sell Dewey’s products to raise funds.
This article is an excerpt from the June 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Dewey's Bakery Inc., click here.