"Culinary is used to help create the gold standard," says Lauen. "They help us raise the bar and be innovative. Once you create the gold standard, process engineering and all functions need to get involved immediately. It's helpful to have these functions in place from the beginning to create a new process if needed. Here, all cross-functional team members are involved. Everyone is aware of every aspect."
"The fact that we have culinary help is a tremendous asset to us; together we can work hand-in-hand," says Heis.
Of course, maintaining the gold standard through scale-up is a challenge many try to master. "For the Stuffed Slices, we took the product at each stage and scaled it to larger equipment to maintain the gold standard. To do that, we involved the process engineering function throughout development. We talked regularly with operations and our suppliers to make it work," says Heis.
The Red Baron team says that teamwork is pivotal for speed to market. "There have been some projects that are very innovative that we were able to execute very quickly," says Gruber. Nine to 12 months, is considered "quickly" to the Red Baron team.
"You can achieve better speed to market with a well thought-out plan," says Lauen. "Foresight in where the consumer movement is headed. The funnel is always full of new ideas."
Naturally, quality of ingredients comes in to play and when building a quality product. It's important to the Red Baron team to ensure everyone involved has buy-in and access to the vision.
"We have very good relationships with our strategic suppliers," adds Lauen.
Red Baron facts
Red Baron was established in 1976. Last year alone, the company sold more than 98 million pizzas.
Red Baron can be found in more than 31,000 grocery and retail outlets.