As Reading Bakery Systems has served the food industry, it has found success by staying diversified, Executive Director of Sales Shawn Moye says. “[We are] not tied to one product category, [which] allows us to be extremely flexible in our offering,” he says. “If one type of business may be down, the other may be up.”
Based in Robesonia, Pa., the company supplies equipment for the grain based food industry, including cookies, crackers, pretzels, baked snacks and bread. “We offer a full range of equipment from the mixing into the packaging area,” he says.
Founder Edwin I. Groff started the company in 1946 and initially focused on serving the pretzel industry, Moye says. Today, Groff’s son, Chairman E. Terry Groff, leads the firm, which now employs a staff of 130 and serves both large and small grain based food organizations.
In addition, Reading Bakery Systems offers Thomas L. Green biscuit & cracker systems, Reading Pretzel and snack systems, Exact Continuous Mixing systems and the Reading Thermal SCORPION 2 Data Logging Measurement System for oven profiling.
He notes that Reading Bakery Systems has grown over the years through acquisitions. This has included Exact Mixing, which it purchased two years ago. “We [had] worked with Exact for many, many years and probably done 40 installations [together] before actually acquiring them,” he says.
Additionally, “Reading Bakery Systems’ Technical Support is the added value that seals the relationship with our customers,” the company says. “Our goal is to exceed our customers’ expectations during the critical phases of installation and commissioning. We train [our customers’] plant personnel to safely operate the equipment and consistently make high quality at optimum capacity. Experienced technicians are on-call 24 hours a day.
“Under maintenance agreements we regularly inspect, repair and evaluate [our client’s] machinery, looking for ways to improve productivity,” it adds. “Plus, our service department keeps [them] informed of industry trends and equipment upgrades, as well as scheduling regular check-up visits.”
An Experienced Team
A longtime veteran of the industry, Moye joined Reading Bakery Systems in 1999. Previously, he was the director of sales in North America for a German baking equipment company.
In addition, Moye served as the maintenance and engineering project manager for Nabisco and Frito-Lay. According to the company, these previous roles gave him knowledge of multiple segments of the baking industry.
Along with being diverse, Moye says Reading Bakery Systems has stayed successful by maintaining a strict manufacturing operation. “We are constantly [performing] a system of checks and balances against what engineering has released and what is required to be built,” he says.
Moye also praises several members of the company’s management team, including Groff, President Joe Zaleski and Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Kuipers, and Vice President of Finance Chip Czulada.
Groff joined Reading Bakery Systems in 1974 and became its president and CEO four years later. Under his leadership, the firm “grew to become the world’s leader in high-speed, automatic pretzel production machinery,” the company says. “By 1997, 85 percent of all U.S. manufactured pretzels having a sales value in excess of $1 billion were manufactured on Reading equipment.”
Zaleski carries 25 years in the baking and snack industries. He joined the company in 1990 after serving in the U.S. Army, and took his current role last year.
“As president, [Zaleski] is tasked with providing a vision for the company moving into the future,” Reading Bakery Systems says. “He will continue the company’s technical leadership edge through partnerships with industry and academia, and finding, evaluating and implementing new technologies.”
Kuipers carries nearly 20 years of industry experience. “Prior to joining Reading Bakery Systems, [he] was employed by Peters Machinery of Chicago for almost seven years, where he served as president and chief operating officer within the Peerless Group,” the company says.
Kuipers also worked for APV Baker in the company’s cookie and cracker division. “In addition to directing the sales and marketing efforts, [he] also remains involved in the majority of international sales of Reading Bakery Systems,” the company states.
Recently, Reading Bakery Systems expanded its operations with the opening of its Science and Innovation Center in Sinking Spring, Pa., Moye says. “It’s a 40,000-square-foot facility open to any of our [current] customers or future customers,” he says.
“Customers [can] come in and improve a product or develop a new product, and we’ll help them do that,” he says, noting that the center works as a sales tool. “It’s also an asset for our clients to help them move products from one line to another.”
Looking forward, Moye predicts continued growth domestically and internationally for Reading Bakery Systems. “We’re going to continue [to] improve our manufacturing performance,” he says, noting that its recent additions also included a laser jet cutting system, which allows it to optimize the number of pieces cut per sheet and ensures the pieces meet specifications.
“That was a big performance improvement,” Moye adds.