Baking & Snack - April 2020 - 45

"I BELIEVE THERE'S VALUE
TO THE CUSTOMER IN
FLEXIBILITY AND BEING
ABLE TO SAY YES."
Greg Acerra, Fireking Baking Co.

their native languages but also with Rosetta Stone subscriptions on tablets to assist their language skills. The new facility's
training room can hold 75 people and features a projector and
a TV monitor. This has been a game-changer for Fireking, allowing the bakery to train more people at once and hold larger
department meetings.
Food safety and quality assurance has also gotten more
complex. In the past few years, Mr. Acerra hired his first quality assurance manager and has doubled that staff. At the smaller facility, a manager was on the bakery floor at all times, and
that was sufficient to make sure food safety was under control. But with 200,000 square feet to cover, that system no longer works. Now, in addition to a head baker and plant manager, each production process has a floor lead and line lead.
This layers the food safety and holds everyone accountable.
Additionally, metal detectors check finished product before it
is stored or staged for pick-up.

Flexibility for quality
Reaching such a level of commercial baking, it may be surprising to some that Mr. Acerra insists on using rack ovens
and continues to make such a diverse array of products. But
this has long been the foundation of Fireking and a principle
Mr. Acerra won't be abandoning any time soon.
"You always want to be as efficient as you can, right?" he
said. "But sometimes I believe flexibility trumps efficiency.
Because I think efficiency restricts you. I believe there's value
to the customer in flexibility and being able to say yes."
And Mr. Acerra chooses his equipment based on its flexibility and its capability to serve his customers' products, first and
foremost. Forcing a dough to run a machine that isn't intended for it because it can do it faster but not better, or changing a
roll's size or inclusions to avoid buying new equipment is just
not how Fireking does business. New products are matched to
the machine that preserves their quality first.
"You have to identify which products run on which machines more efficiently and steer products in that direction
without compromising the product," he explained. "And if it
doesn't work, then I have to find a machine that will make it.
I'll buy my team whatever they need because this equipment
has to serve the product, which in turn serves my customer.
It's about how do you make it the best, and then find a machine that will do it the most efficiently. Let quality dictate efficiency, not efficiency dictate quality."

*
www.bakingbusiness.com / April 2020 Baking & Snack 45

B&S April book.indb 45

4/6/2020 11:17:34 AM


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Baking & Snack - April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - April 2020

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