ProcessTechnologyXchange Allowed Kraft Time to Devote to Innovation

As with so many people in a position similar to his, the primary responsibility of Lloyd Cochran, the Engineering Manager at the Chicago Bakery of Kraft Foods, is to get product out the door. This leaves him with little time to search for new and innovative solutions. Said Cochran, “The hurdle is time. Anybody in a manufacturing job is very busy and they don’t have the time to be going out and doing that type of research. Even at a company with the vast resources of Kraft I simply didn’t have the time.”

It took an opportunity like ProcessTechnologyXchange (PTX) to afford Cochran the time to seek out a new product from a new supplier that ultimately helped him increase plant productivity. “It was all about leverage. The editors at Food Engineering worked on my behalf.”

Not only does Cochran not have time to do research on his own, he also doesn’t have time to connect with all of the suppliers who try to contact him on a daily basis.

There many challenges to simply reaching someone like Cochran. “I am contacted numerous times daily either through voicemail or email.” Cochran said there are those he tries to respond to, but he rarely responds to suppliers he doesn’t know because he simply doesn’t have the time.

The Challenge:  Even with all the resources Cochran had at his disposal at Kraft Foods, Cochran didn’t have time to research new and innovative solutions. Cochran was also inundated with sales calls and emails and didn’t have time to sort through all of them to find the optimal pioneering solutions.

The Project:  Cochran’s intent at PTX was to find new technology and when he and his team met with this particular new supplier, they were very impressed. Cochran pointed out that meeting with the supplier at PTX was crucial because the executive level decision maker at Kraft, Steve Kunkel, was involved in the meeting.

The Result:  Kraft quickly installed 2 of the supplier’s solutions in one of their biscuit plants. The solutions easily met Kraft’s rigorous ROI hurdles. Kraft subsequently installed 18 more of the supplier’s solutions and assuming they continue to operate as planned, Kraft will continue to have additional projects with the supplier. Said Cochran, “I would tell you that the benefit that we’ve already obtained from our relationship that developed between us and the supplier has already paid for the 10 senior members of the Kraft team being there. And there were many other technologies and relationships that came out of that visit. I look forward to the next opportunity I get to attend.”