Assured of a solid customer base and steady growth, Ferrera researched machinery to fit his needs. Proximity was a key but not the only factor in his choice. Down the road in Bothell, WA, Hinds-Bock Corporation became Cuizina’s machinery partner. The ever present concerns of protecting the customer’s unique ingredients were a part of the first discussions with Hinds-Bock sales manager Rod Gregg. Ferrera says, “Hinds-Bock absolutely guaranteed drip-free filling and gentle handling of our products and has made good on that promise.
”To answer Cuizina’s questions of how to manage progressive growth, the Hinds-Bock team was careful to use standard equipment that could be gradually implemented. A former and sealer were recommended.
Standard SP-64 single-piston fillers with the addition of custom spouting were tested successfully. Managing machinery acquisition to parallel the growth of their market base became a requirement. Eventually production space was acquired to make room for increased production. From their original purchase of a single-piston filler, Cuizina gradually added new lines.
Erik Bugge, Cuizina’s Vice President, used the term “consultive manufacturer” to describe their partnership with customers. “Customers bring us their own sauces or ask us to create ones for them. Our aim is to always produce quality product with quality ingredients.” With an extensive nutritional database, Cuizina can provide nutritional analysis as well. Gathering fresh ingredients from across the country, spices from around the world, and putting it all together makes for an exciting environment. Products ranging from 2 to 64 ounces are ready to ship frozen to suppliers, distributors, or direct to the customer within hours of their creation.
With Cuizina’s main emphasis on their product, machinery reliability is key. Because of standardization of equipment, parts are interchangeable between machines. Cuizina operates with a just-in-time inventory system which requires reliability. According to Ferrera, the availability of ready parts, a service manual that is user-friendly and a staff that has been responsive to all their questions has made this partnership valuable. “New tastes and new market demands are constantly a challenge. We rely on our machinery to help us meet deadlines”.