Supply Chain Snapshot: Belshaw Adamatic
Did you indulge in a donut from the office break room this morning? If so, it was likely made with machinery manufactured by Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group (Auburn, Washington). The company provides industrial and retail bakery equipment, including donut and bread production equipment, fryers, convection ovens and deck ovens. Its customers include Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, and the grocery store chain Safeway. Belshaw Adamatic relies on a supply base of more than 1,000 companies to keep pace with customer demand.
“We are the main supplier for Dunkin’ Donuts, as well as customers with machines that require 24-hour operations,” said Irene Kimmerly, vice president of sales at Belshaw Adamatic. “We have to have a lot of suppliers, so we have alternatives in case somebody cannot produce for us.”
Of the 1,000 suppliers, less than 10% are makers of cast components. More than 98% of the castings Belshaw Adamatic purchases are manufactured domestically.
“That’s part of the strategy, because often, we have to get those parts quickly,” Kimmerly said. “If we have something made overseas, it just takes too long. We can’t have our customers not be able to produce.”
The company purchases cast components in a wide variety of metals and casting processes, depending on the application. One example is a frame assembly for Belshaw Adamatic’s cake donut dropper, a device that deposits donut batter into a fryer.
The donut manufacturer is savvy when it comes to casting processes. The aluminum frame was originally produced as a sand casting, but as demand for the donut dropper surged, Belshaw Adamatic looked at ways to lower the part price at the higher volumes now required. Tooling costs for a permanent mold cast part will generally run higher than a sand cast part, but at high volumes, the cost may be justified. The metal mold used in the permanent process can be used over and over again, and the mold material causes the molten metal to solidify quickly for faster production times and a tighter grain structure (leading to higher quality parts).
AFS Corporate Member LA Aluminum (Hayden, Idaho) casts the donut frames for Belshaw Adamatic and delivers them machined and assembled with bushings and hardware. The frames also are finished with glass bead blasting for a smooth surface.
“Decisions of manufacturing method are made in the development phase of the design,” Kimmerly said. “The decision criteria for when to use a casting includes functional performance, thermodynamic properties, as well as upfront and ongoing costs, and lead time.”
Belshaw Adamatics’ customers range from small bakeries to large industrial facilities that make and package donuts for retail sales. It provides equipment that can make 100 dozen donuts an hour as well as automated lines that operate 24/7 at up to 3,500 dozen an hour. Having a secure supply of components for new equipment as well as replacement parts is critical to meet customer needs.
“It would be very rare to not find our equipment in a grocery chain or bakery,” Kimmerly said. “We sell through our distributor base and direct to customer, in some areas, so we go to market in a couple of different ways. Our philosophy is to secure a healthy supply chain because we can’t have long lead times and we can’t have people not producing.”
Belshaw Adamatic employs three main purchasers to secure its supply chain. They are tasked with ensuring the current supply base is healthy, evaluating and potentially eliminating nonperforming suppliers, and continually seeking and developing new and alternative sources to avoid gaps in production. Belshaw performs regular audits of its suppliers and has a dedicated person who oversees the quality of incoming pieces.
“They are making sure the quality meets standard and that the suppliers haven’t changed anything in the way they are producing the parts,” Kimmerly said. “It’s an ongoing process.”
By keeping a healthy, domestic supply chain, Belshaw Adamatic can provide uninterrupted delivery of its machinery—some of which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars—and be agile enough to respond to changing customer needs.
“We measure our success in customer satisfaction, and we want to make sure we are meeting the needs in an ever-changing market,” Kimmerly said. “Service is a huge part of our success. We provide 24-hour tech service and having a secure supply chain is part of our ability to do that.”