Anatomy of an Expansion: Part II
This is the second installment of the series.
Butterkrust Bakery is installing a new brew system that will feed the company's bun and roll lines. Before the switch is made, the old line will continue to use a sponge and dough system.
This series of pictures illustrates Butterkrust Bakery's equipment load-in and final construction. The company coordinated these two separate projects with minimal interference.
So far, so good. In fact, Butterkrust Bakery's 50,000-sq.-ft. expansion project is ahead of schedule. The company's original goal was to begin testing the new line in May, but things have been going so well that Doug Wimberly, Butterkrust Bakery's president, expects to begin testing by April.
"I keep thinking that something is going to happen, but everyone continues to fulfill their obligations of delivering their equipment, parts and people," Wimberly says.
Fulfilling obligations is an essential aspect of building a bakery, installing a new line or expanding a facility. For Butterkrust Bakery, coordination has been key to the expansion of its 200,000-sq.-ft. facility to house a new bun and roll line. In February 2004, the company broke ground on this $16 million expansion project, which also includes a new parking lot and distribution dock.
Project management team
To date, Butterkrust Bakery has yet to experience any of the common problems that complicate and bog down an expansion project. There have been no major construction snafus, unfiled permits or supplier letdowns. Even a couple of hurricanes could not knock the project off its original timeline.
Wimberly credits advanced planning and strong communication between the construction team and equipment suppliers for the project's good fortunes thus far. "The construction company told me that it's very seldom that as soon as the roof is put on, an equipment truck shows up," Wimberly says.
However, things simply did not click into place. The expansion project consists of hundreds of hours of pre-planning. Besides creating a construction timeline and equipment installation schedule, Butterkrust Bakery had to continue producing 2.5 million pounds of products a week.
This dynamic created many obstacles, all of which were overcome by the bakery's project management team. The bakery formed this team to coordinate construction and equipment installations, and to oversee the progress of the project and ensure ontime delivery.
The project management team consists of Wimberly; Tom Sell, Butterkrust Bakery's director of manufacturing; Jackie Rose, Butterkrust Bakery's chief engineer and project coordinator; and Ron Hambrick of Baking Technology Systems Inc.
Hambrick serves as the expansion's project manager and is responsible for the timely installation of the new bun and roll line. Hambrick was chosen to lead the project because Bake-Tech has the largest equipment share of the project, installing an oven, proof box and conveyors.
The company began equipment load-in in January, which posed complications because construction was yet to be completed. Specifically, the company's new dock had to be built while still accepting ingredient deliveries.
This task was accomplished by building the new dock in two stages. First, the company poured the concrete for the first bay while ingredient deliveries were made on a dirt path leading into the second bay. Once the concrete hardened, the company poured the second bay while ingredients were delivered to the new bay.
To furthur simplify the process, Butterkrust Bakery coordinated ingredient deliveries to occur at night. This allowed the construction company to work with a minimal amount of interruptions. Butterkrust Bakery also resorted to novel ingredient delivery methods.
"The ingredient companies operated with some of the longest hoses they have ever seen," Wimberly says. "We had to run the hoses through construction areas to pump ingredients into the plant."
Register Construction & Engineering, the company building the new facility, helped coordinate efforts, Wimberly says. Because the construction outfit is familiar with building bakeries, it understands the unique requirements of an expansion project. More importantly, it understands Butterkrust Bakery's business because both companies are located in Lakeland, Fla.
By the end of January, the roof was placed on the new expansion and equipment load-in began. To create the line, Butterkrust Bakery relied on past experiences. For the most part, the company turned to its existing suppliers.
"Because we have invested $30 million in the plant prior to this new expansion, we have become very comfortable with or uncomfortable with particular pieces of equipment and particular companies," Wimberly says. "We already had a preconceived idea in our minds of what equipment we really liked, and that is based on previous experiences with these companies and their equipment."
The company also based its equipment purchases on quality and functionality, not price. "Does price have a bearing on the decision? Yes," Wimberly says. "But in our decisionmaking process, price never had a bearing on whether or not we were making the right decision."
Once the equipment decisions were made, Hambrick talked to all of the suppliers and coordinated a schedule for installation. This schedule not only had to work around various pieces of equipment, but also coordinate with the continuing construction of the facility.
"On a project this size, there are a lot of tractor trailer loads of equipment," Sell says. "We had to schedule the equipment trailers coming in so there were no more than two deliveries a day."
"It's kind of like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," Wimberly says, referring to the television show on ABC. "At any given time we could have six or seven equipment suppliers doing things, in addition to the construction company."
Coordination pays off
Despite this apparent confusion, Butterkrust Bakery's project management team created a schedule and plan that reins in the potential madness of construction and installation. This combination of Butterkrust Bakery employees and a supplier representative has instilled controlled chaos over the massive project.
"We've all learned to work around each other," Wimberly says. "It's a combination of a lot of planning, good communication with the equipment companies and coordinating when their products will be built, shipped and when their crews would arrive."
So far, the bakery's advanced planning has paid off. The project is on time and within budget. The next step in Butterkrust Bakery's expansion will be detailed in the July issue of Baking Management.