Pepperidge Farm Increases Production on Goldfish Lines
Focus on Operations
(excerpted from Pepperidge Farm & the Quest for What's Next, published in Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, February 2004)
Throughout its history, Pepperidge Farm has invested in automation and the latest technology to ensure that it can consistently produce its high-quality products. Back in1938, Rudkin spent what was then a whopping $1,000 on an automated dough mixer and in 1947 invested $625,000 to build one of the most state-of-the-art facilities at the time.
"She was very nervous about spending that much money, but she wanted to have the best factory in the industry," Sarvary recalls. "Two years later, she built a second one."
The tradition continued after Campbell Soup purchased Pepperidge Farm. In the late 1980s, it built one of the most automated bakeries at the time in Lakeland, Fla. In the early 1990s, the company spent $180 million to build a 611,000-sq.-ft. plant in Denver, Pa.
Last year, Pepperidge invested $72 million to build a 265,000-sq.-ft. plant in Boomfield, Conn. The bread, roll, stuffing and crouton facility replaced the 56-year-old Norwalk plant next to the company's headquarters and added much-needed capacity and quality control to its core markets in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
With the Bloomfield plant on line, Sarvary says, "We now have capacity to accommodate future growth. Demand for our breads is continuing to grow."
In addition, news reports leaked out that Pepperidge is investing an estimated $16 million in its Lakeland plant to install a new snack cracker line that reportedly will produce a new product for the company later this year. Sarvary declined to elaborate on the product at this time.
Additionally, the company operates bakeries in Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina and Utah. Pepperidge Farm has ongoing efforts to significantly boost production capacity and enhance product quality with minimal capital investment.
To consistently improve the company's overall performance, Sarvary says he plans to follow in Rudkin's footsteps and constantly ask his team "What's next?" to ensure that Pepperidge Farm is exceeding its customers' and consumers' expectations.
"Consumers are incredibly discriminating. People really tell the difference between products. If you diminish the quality or change the taste, people notice immediately. It's part of the reason why Pepperidge has been successful. They have not diminished the quality over time," he says.
"People also understand the value of premium," he notes. "They can discriminate between something that is good and something that is very good. Moreover, they are prepared, especially with something like cookies or crackers, to pay a premium for something that is a little better because it won't break the bank. They appreciate the added value and they're willing to pay for it."
By constantly asking "What's next?" Pepperidge Farm will continuously challenge itself to remain "a real jewel" in the Campbell Soup diversified portfolio of business. Besides being a driving force for the company today, asking "What's next?" is a rhetorical question that will determine what the future holds for the company, Sarvary says.
For Sarvary, having memorized the book on Pepperidge Farm, it looks like he's ready to write the next chapter.
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