Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 104

South

Viking Range

use. "I always believe in reducing the variation and controlling the nominal," Brown explains. "You can set a goal
and reach it, but if that goal has a wide variation in what you
deliver on a daily basis then you don't really have control."
The design of Viking's products invokes the culinary lifestyle and the company now takes greater care to carry that
culinary philosophy through the entire product. "We look
internally at process and products to make sure what's underneath the hood has the same integrity and wow factor as
when you look at the range," Brown says.
Every product manufactured in Viking's three facilities
are checked throughout the production process. For the
ovens, the porcelain cavities are calibrated at the first step
of manufacturing and again before they go out the door to
ensure they match specifications without variation. Cameras capable of detecting defects were added to the end of the
line to ensure every appliance is assembled correctly.
But Viking's quality process doesn't end with the assembly line. Every item undergoes short- and long-term reliability testing. A refrigerator door, for instance, may have
250-pound weights added and tested to more than three
times life to ensure the hinges hold up under extreme stress.
Brown say Viking looks at the reliability curve and lifecycle
of each product and touches on every point of potential
failure. "Unlike our competitors in the industry, we do not
test to pass a standard; we test to failure to identify the weak
links and design them out."

Changing Customer Service
Brown buys into the continuous improvement philosophy
of kaizen. He believes in never being happy and constantly
finding ways of doing things better. Since Middleby bought
Viking in 2012, the company has made strides in reliability
and manufacturing quality, but the biggest leap, Brown says,
has been in customer service.
The Viking brand continues to grow its sterling reputation
because of its high quality and engaging features, but when
something does go wrong, the company must react quickly
to solve the problem. Here, too, the support of Middleby
has made an impact. Brown says Middleby brought with it
an expectation for investment in customer service. When
a Middleby oven at a pizza chain goes down, that results in
lost revenue until the issue is repaired so a quick response
is essential. Even an aesthetic problem like a lost knob deserves premium customer service according to the company's philosophy. Viking is adopting that approach with its
own customers. "We took that mentality and brought it into
the residential industry," Brown says.
104

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017

Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover1
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Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Table Of Contents
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Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover3
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