Baking&Snack - February 2012 - (Page 44)
Hostess Brands works to improve asset management through Lean Manufacturing practices, starting with its biggest cake plant: Dolly Madison, Emporia, KS.
Bakers know well the challenging nature of these times. Because of the industry’s razor-thin margins, savings go right to the bottom line, but such measures must not be done at the expense of customer expectations. No stranger to such struggles, Hostess Brands, Irving, TX, turned to Lean Manufacturing to improve its internal numbers and boost the value it delivers to customers and consumers. Its
Dolly Madison bakery at Emporia, KS, leads the way. Describing the decision to make Emporia a center of manufacturing excellence, Ron Wilson, the Emporia-based field director for Hostess Brands, said, “This is the biggest cake plant in our system, and if we can do it here, every Hostess bakery can.” Shortly after Gary Wandschneider joined Hostess as executive vicepresident of operations in 2007, he picked Emporia to implement Lean Manufacturing and 5S. Both are components of the Lean Management philosophy aimed at containing costs. The bakery’s managers, supervisors and staff took the handoff and ran so well with it that Emporia now boasts the lowest downtime and waste rating — less than 0.2%, according to Mr. Wilson — among all 11 Hostess bakeries producing cake products. “Finding savings and making improvements has
been fun; it hasn’t been like work at all,” Mr. Wilson said. Emporia Plant Manager Todd Crook added, “And customers get products fresher and faster than before.” Consumer complaints dropped dramatically as well. The techniques and lessons learned at Emporia are rolling out to other Hostess facilities. Emporia provides a great example of the enthusiastic adoption of Lean Manufacturing methods and how these asset management techniques pay off for the whole company.
Setting the stage
Claimed by Hostess to be among the world’s largest cake plants, the Emporia bakery covers 350,000 sq ft. It bakes 24% of all cake products sold by the company. Emporia, started up in 1965, employs more than 700 people and operates a 24/7 schedule. It outputs more than 3 million lb of donuts, cakes, sweet rolls and fried pies weekly on nine processing lines. The bakery houses five donut lines, a single line for small cakes,
/ Baking & Snack / February 2012
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