Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010 - (Page 32)

Les Plats du Chef / HQ: Montreal / Sales: $100 million (U.S.) / Employees: 800+ / Specialty: Frozen foods Jean-Marie Ouellette, GM: “[Value] is key to having any sort of lasting presence in the marketplace.” Capital Investments The company’s success is a product of an efficient manufacturing system. Between 2007 and 2008, Les Plats added 40,000 square feet to its Montreal facility and built a second, 60,000-square-foot plant in Toronto. “If you go back seven or eight years ago, we had a total of 70,000 square feet, and we now have over 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space,” Ouellette says. “We are a capitalintensive business, and as we create new products, we have to constantly reinvest in the business to stay stateof-the-art.” Quality assurance and quality control are overseen by a senior management team at each location. The plants are equipped with the latest food industry systems under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and are recognized as HACCP establishments. Although Les Plats tries to automate the production process as much as possible, Ouellette says it is careful not to adapt the product to the manufacturing process. “We adapt the process to the product, something I find very important,” he says. “I see a lot of institutes where automated manufacturing takes precedence over how the product is treated. For us, it is important that the original characteristics of the products we use are maintained.” Les Plats ensures consistency in its operations by organizing the structure of each of its departments to strengthen the operations in terms of engineering and human resources. “As we grow,” Ouellette says, “we need to keep an eye on the structures of the different departments and add support where it’s needed. Successful growth can only come from a strong foundation, and that foundation starts with your people. “We are in a very competitive marketplace and the value and price relationship are very important these days,” Ouellette notes. “If the cons- les plats du chef’s frozen items include french onion soup, quiches and franks wrapped in pastry dough. Catering to Clients les plats du chef gains marketshare by putting an innovative touch on frozen food. by brooke infusino Whoever believes innovation is dead never met the talent behind Les Plats du Chef. For the Montrealbased specialty frozen food manufacturer, innovation has been a key part of its business plan since its start in 1981. By thinking progressively, the firm has grown its product line, geographic reach and revenues. Les Plats holds a unique niche in gourmet specialty frozen foods. It sells more than 250 products, including the Les Plats brand and private label, and is continually creating new items based on consumer tastes. Through organic growth and acquisitions, Les Plats has expanded the channels and markets in which it op32 SPRING 2010 erates, General Manager Jean-Marie Ouellette says. Les Plats manufactures frozen items such as French onion soup, mini quiches, mini franks wrapped in pastry dough, mini pizzas and a large assortment of phyllo dough and puff pastry products. Private-label product is sold to large retailers and Les Plats-branded products are sold in specialty or club channels throughout Canada and the United States. Les Plats du Chef was launched by husband and wife duo Michel and Monique Lachapelle in 1981. In the 2000s, it established a foodservice division through the acquisition of Cuisi-Prestige, allowing it to create products specifically for the industry.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010
Global Strategies
Cost Concerns
Growth Opportunities
Continuous Improvement
Business Value
Juanita’s Foods
Les Plats du Chef
Gardner Denver
Smeal Fire Apparatus Co.
Club Car Inc.
Parkson Corp.
MKS Instruments Inc.
Amity Technology
Co-Operative Industries
Corbi Plastics
Elyria/Hodge Foundries Co.
Inteplast Group Ltd.
Willbanks Metals
Zotos International Inc.
Akron Foundry Co.
Alo North America
Bosal International
First American Plastic Molding Enterprise
MAC Equipment
Mayville Engineering Co. Inc.
Kurtz Bros. Inc.
Aesco Electronics
Code 3 Inc.
Columbia Marking Tools
Euro-Rite Cabinets
Fampec Technology LLC
Faubion Associates Inc.
Ginsey Industries Inc.
Imagineering Finishing Technologies
Imperial Woodworks Inc.
Innovative Lighting
Liburdi Dimetrics
MTC Transformers
Plastiques GPR
S.A. Robotics
Sunrise Windows
Positran Manufacturing Inc.
Manufacturing Tomorrow

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010