UNOX’S: Recipe for Success

Cooking shows can certainly be entertaining, but for many that watch them they also provide pathways to culinary improvement. That’s to say who doesn’t want to have a crack at perfecting a recipe or two.

The thing is, you generally need decent cooking tools to create your master chef masterpiece. That includes an oven.

Wayne Viles knows all about top ovens. The trained Patissiere ran a pizza business for 10 years before selling up and securing a position at Robot Coupe as the Sales Manager for Victoria and Tasmania In a roundabout way, that was his introduction to UNOX, which manufactures commercial ovens.

“The owner of Robot Coupe had another business distributing imported products, and UNOX happened to be part of this range,” Viles says.

“I saw UNOX as a great product, and sold a few hundred machines in what we know as 3 Series. This allowed me to build my passion for this product, which just happened to allow me to be associated as ‘The UNOX guy’, which worked very well when the opportunity was offered to me to partner with the factory.

Now, as the general manager of UNOX Australia, he is at the coalface of a company that is known for invention and innovation.

A RISING BUSINESS

UNOX was founded in 1990. They started making small convection ovens to partner with pastry manufacturers. The manufacturers would then offer these ovens to cafés and bars in Italy.

“The rate of innovation and constant improvement processes that take place within the business is startling,” Viles says.

“All of our Combi ovens (a combi oven is an oven with three functions: convection, steam and combination cooking) are web enabled with the ability for software updates automatically sent from the factory. It means that your oven is constantly evolving. It’s amazing.

But UNOX is not only about bringing innovation to the industry, it is also to improve businesses’ returns on investment.

“UNOX has long recognised that the purchase price of Combi ovens extends the return on investment.

UNOX set about changing this equation worldwide, by implementing Lean Manufacturing and On Time Manufacturing systems learned from companies like Toyota. This has allowed us to offer what we believe to be the Best Value in the market.”

It was that kind of consumer focused thinking that was the foundation of what has become a well-respected industry leader with an outstanding reputation for excellence.

“I like to think of a reputation being based on service, we have a simple philosophy: under promise and over deliver. Many businesses seem to be good at doing it the other way around!”

Viles attributes the company’s success, particularly in Australia, to just answering the phone.

“Be the guy that is more responsive to your clients and more importantly your customer, being the end user. The relationship with the end user is what will allow you to grow, and be the reliable source of information, advice and assistance, and often this might relate to something other than your product.

As far as Australia is concerned, UNOX has only been a factory business since January 2009.

“I remember sitting on the floor of a small office, waiting for the furniture I had bought at auction to turn up; it was 500 square metres of warehouse and no kitchen, and a very small budget.”

Clearly, Viles’ values are well aligned with UNOX. He is cognisant of the requirements of his stakeholders from clients, to consumers; he is attentive to their needs and he has an infectious attitude that all staff has embraced.

“I am very proud of what our staff allowed us to achieve. They have made sure we are successful and are more important than any product, in any business.”

With the success of the Australian division, UNOX is now the largest manufacturer of commercial ovens worldwide.

Continued innovation, with industry demands growing and changing, UNOX has had to continue its innovation trend to maintain its leadership position.

The company is competing against many other manufacturers with myriad products and many with web features.

What sets UNOX apart is its commitment to sustainability.

“UNOX studies and considers every aspect of sustainability and the life cycle of a machine, how it is manufactured, and what happens at the end of its life and disposal,” Viles says.

“We are constantly looking at how to improve, particularly within the manufacturing process and how we can reuse products during this process. This, in turn, increases competitiveness by reducing costs of manufacturing. As we own 98% of the component manufacturing, we are able to also control the reduction of waste in all of our component businesses as well.

“Power and water consumption are very important as well, with prices rising and the impact on the environment, it is important to be the best here as well. UNOX was the first to use LED technology in lighting the interior of the oven, and removed the light from the cavity to the door to guarantee long life and little or no replacement.

We were also the first to create the Triple Glazed Door, which dramatically reduces the heat loss from the oven, therefore increasing cooking efficiency and lowering running costs. We have our own chemists on staff who have created a range of Eco Plant based chemical for the ovens cleaning system, which we will see here in Australia shortly.”

Clearly there is a large commitment to innovation, service and value.

“We try to offer the best value, before, during and after any process to do with our business.

My personal goal for our business is to have the best service in the industry. Given the nature of our business, and how equipment in a kitchen is often treated, this is difficult, but it is what I would really like to achieve. I think we can do it.”

LOOKING FORWARD

Given its growth as a global company, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that UNOX is still a family operated business, which hold these family values close to its hearts.

Certainly, Viles maintains these values.

“Our son Zach has worked for us for the past six or seven years and has been asked to move to the United States office to develop the sales team for the next few years.

Hopefully he will return and I look forward to him stepping in, and me stepping back.”

UNOX is currently the fastest growing oven manufacturer in the world.

Meanwhile, UNOX Australia has always matched and in some periods, outgrown company projections and Viles is looking to keep it this way.



Business First is a peer-to-peer magazine: written by CEOs and other high level executives, with interviews with some of the country’s best leaders.


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