Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Life lessons from Hendrickson

Published:Thursday | March 21, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Baking mogul Gary ‘Butch’ Hendrickson last Thursday highlighted the value of embracing data as a critical component in the formula for business success, citing some practical examples from this experience, while delivering the keynote address at the University of Technology’s (UTech) Research, Technology and Innovation 2019.

Efficiency standards, which are a way of life in the private sector, is the defining economic differentiator that sets it apart from state-run enterprises in Jamaica, the chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Baking Limited explained during his presentation at the opening ceremony, which was observed under the theme ‘Research and Innovation…Fuelling a Bright Future’.

“If I were to try to run my plant the way the public transportation system is being run, I don’t think we would last six months.

“We could, but we would have to double the price of the bread. Data is everything, and we have decided, through data and using our knowledge, that the National bread van can’t be a bigger size,” he disclosed.

When the matter was debated as an option for increasing revenue in light of rising production costs, data prevailed over the combination of speculation, optimistic projections, and business hunches.

Hendrickson explained: “We can’t because if that van is twice the size and holds twice the amount of bread, for that man to sell off all that bread, he cannot service a customer properly.

At the end of it, our goal is to give you the best product backed up by the best service. I can’t do that if a man has far more than he can manage comfortably and goes whipping all over the place, never seeing you. Him just drop off and gone.”

Making life involved

The company made life a lot easier for the drivers by positioning the load ramps a little higher than the truck, which allows for the exertion of less effort in loading when trays are packed with baked products, easily sliding along the slight incline. This was an informed decision, the CEO pointed out.

Another feature that sets all National delivery trucks apart is that the doors all roll and down, with none of them swinging out to the sides.

“When you driving past a National truck, it not suppose to swing open and hit your vehicle’s windshield because it happened to me and I didn’t want any of my salesmen or tradesmen to go through any of that, or you as a customer, once I can avoid it.”