Decade of growth

by Meyer Sosland
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From its establishment in 2002 as a joint venture that combined Cargill’s global milling experience and GrainCorp’s storage and handling expertise, Australia-based Allied Mills Ltd. has evolved into one of Australia’s largest manufacturers and distributors of bakery premixes, flour and semi-finished products.

The combination of those two entity’s rich heritage encompassing over a century of flour milling and food ingredient expertise has been integral to the company’s steady growth.

“Having this vast experience and knowledge at our disposal allowed our business to establish leadership in Australia’s food manufacturing industry,” David Ambrose, Allied Mills national operations manager — milling, recently told World Grain in an interview. “Our teams of passionate people, customers and shareholders have been equal contributors to our growth and success. The products we produce are reflective of the passion throughout our organization which demonstrates our philosophy: ‘Passionate People… Innovative Food Solutions.’”

Since its founding, Allied Mills has been committed to maintaining an ethical business approach and absolute integrity, he said.

“There cannot be success without high performance and a steadfast customer focus. Our mission is fixed on providing our customers with excellence in all that we do,” Ambrose emphasized. “Our superior product and service offerings and fostering of working relationships built on trust combined with all our core values have built us into an iconic food manufacturing business.”

Current operations

Today, Allied Mills operates seven flour mills with a total installed capacity of 1 million tonnes per annum, four mix plants, four food manufacturing facilities and warehouses across Australia and New Zealand (see facility map on page ##). Allied Mills produces over 60 different types of flours, premixes and food ingredient products, which it organizes within nine different collections: flour, specialty flour, specialty grain, cake, sweet, bread, pizza, bakery ingredients (tempura batter, Easter cross) and food ingredients.

Allied Mills distributes its products in bulk, in 10-, 12.5-, 15-, 20- and 25-kg bags, and 2.5 kg pails. The company has a wide range of customers and distribution channels incorporating major independent and multinational food manufacturers, supermarket retailers and foodservice operators.

“Our highly efficient manufacturing and distribution systems, leading edge technology housed in our acquired frozen food manufacturing facilities and innovative product ideas have been key factors why we are where we are today — at the forefront of Australia’s food manufacturing landscape,” Ambrose said.

The vast majority of the company’s sales are domestic, but the company does export bread premixes to the retail market in New Zealand.

“With our recent acquisition of the frozen pastry facility in Auckland, The Pastryhouse, we look forward to the opportunities it will present us with to grow our New Zealand market presence,” Ambrose said.

Decade of growth

Over its first decade, as Allied Mills grew organically, it also looked outside the company for acquisition opportunities. The company’s business progressively evolved through the introduction of new facilities, innovative products and new customer channels.

“Securing new business relationships and paving the way for new and innovative products has propelled our organization into product growth and diversification placing us in a superior position within the flour milling and retail food market,” Ambrose said.

He pointed to several key projects that have shaped the company’s evolution and success. The company’s investment in the state-of-the-art Picton facility in 2009, the recently completed Tennyson facility upgrade in 2013 and the purchase of four new frozen bakery manufacturing facilities were integral to the company’s expansion and advancement.

In March 2013, Allied Mills successfully acquired the wheat gluten and starch facility of Grain Products Australia. In acquiring the facility, Allied Mills noted that the Tamworth business was built on a strong history of manufacturing quality wheat protein and starch, which would enhance the Allied Mills’ food ingredient offerings.

The facility is in the heart of one of the country’s prime wheat growing areas. Allied Mills noted that factory has existed on the present site since 1938 and was the first in the world to commercially dry vital wheat gluten, which is widely recognized for its quality and performance.

“Our growth strategy is to add value in the grain supply chain, and in Tamworth, New South Wales to be an innovative solution provider for our customers,” Ambrose said. “The acquisition of the Tamworth facility supports both of these goals, and we are delighted by the encouragement that we have received from the market following this acquisition.”

The gluten and starch business has been integrated into Allied Mills’ Food Ingredients group, which specializes in the manufacturing and supplying of quality wheat-based ingredients that are used throughout the food industry. The product range will also include gluten, dextrin and caramel colors.

Tennyson facility

Allied Mills’ investment in its own growth can be most recently seen in the official opening of its newly expanded facility at Tennyson, Queensland, Australia in late October 2013. The facility was built to replace the flour milling and mixing capability that was lost in the 2011 Queensland floods that extensively damaged Allied Mills’ Toowoomba milling and mixing plant.

Allied Mills said the opening of the new mill and mix plant re-establishes Allied Mills’ production capacity in Queensland for supply to that region’s consumers.

“We are thrilled our A$43 million ($42.9 million) investment will maximize our service and efficiency standard for our Queensland customers and support the local economy and job market,” Allied Mills’ Managing Director Joseph Di Leo said at the opening of the facility. “The Tennyson site ensures the manufacture of ingredients for iconic household brands that Australian families have come to trust in, and the delivery of superior product quality and consistency every time.”

The Tennyson facility was substantially upgraded to feature a new hard wheat flour mill, new dry mixing facilities and a larger warehouse, which houses state-of-the-art equipment and food manufacturing processes. Uzwil, Switzerland-based Bühler AG engineered and supplied equipment for the facility’s expansion. The facility’s new equipment includes a Bühler MPAK sifter and MDDP and MDDQ roller mills.

“This building project was essential for Allied Mills to respond to the Toowoomba flood devastation that left the Toowoomba site incapable of continuing to service our customers,” Di Leo said. “We look forward to now having full capability to service all of Allied Mills’ Queensland customers directly from the Tennyson site and no longer requiring product supply extended from our interstate facilities. Our products are now 100% made in Queensland for Queensland customers.”

Throughout its history, Allied Mills has strategically placed all of its facilities in close proximity to its customers and to a source of wheat. It is part of the company’s overall strategy to be geographically close to the source and the customer, and through this strategy the company has been able to achieve efficiencies.

“Allied Mills’ philosophy is to be a local manufacturer. We have an excellent national footprint with manufacturing capabilities in all the mainland states to allow us to source and use local wheat for local customers,” Ambrose said. “From a carbon emission and fuel cost perspective, this is extremely beneficial. Keeping our transportation costs low through being close to our customers and ingredients enable us to help keep our products at a competitive price.”

Allied Mills also believes in investing in state-of-the-art equipment and processes to ensure the highest safety and energy efficiencies.

“The design and leading edge technology of the Tennyson mill ensures the highest food safety standards, the most energy efficient construction and advanced milling technology the world has ever seen,” Di Leo said. “We at Allied Mills are committed to being at the forefront in flour milling and mixing innovation and what we have done here at Tennyson is testament to this commitment.”

Allied Mills recently expanded its facility in Tennyson, Queensland, Australia. The new B mill roller floor is equipped with Bühler MDDP and MDDQ roller mills. Photos courtesy of Allied Mills.