Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery recently was able to speak with Darcel Schouler, marketing manager, Douglas Machines Corp., about its 40th anniversary.
Liz Parker: Why was Douglas Machines Corp. originally created/established?
Darcel Schouler: Our founder, Douglas Miller, an entrepreneur by nature, moved from England to Clearwater, Florida. Through a desire to go into business for himself, he realized a need to supply pan and rack washers to the Bakery and Supermarket sectors. The first machine was built in his sister’s Dunedin, Florida garage.
LP: What are some things that have changed about the company in the past 40 years?
DS: As markets evolved, so has our business. There’s been an increased demand for our products, especially after FSMA was enacted. We initially built a strong reputation in the baking industry and fortunately, through hard work, taking a customer-centric approach and delivering quality products, expanded to other market sectors such as food processing, pet food, snacks, nutraceuticals, beverages and more.
LP: How has your lineup of machines changed in the past 40 years?
DS: Our product scope really parallels our growth. Adapting a high level of innovation to solve customer problems has always been paramount, which leads to changes. Our initial lineup consisted of only 3-4 models in one sector. We now offer over 80 models in a robust product line of automated washing and sanitizing equipment that services 9-10 sectors. It’s a matter of adapting, being flexible, listening and understanding each sector’s nuances. As a result, customers view us as a resource in solving their cleaning challenges.
LP: Can you talk about your newest collaboration with Scale Parts Equipment Manufacturers in building specialized washers?
DS: Feedback from customers emphasized a need for a better way to effectively and efficiently clean these expensive scale parts. We cultivated relationships with several major manufacturers to develop a satisfactory equipment solution. Custom racks specifically built for them, locking the pieces in place, with washers that can thoroughly do the job. It’s a win-win for all involved.
LP: What has been the company’s biggest accomplishment(s) over the past 40 years?
DS: Earning the trust and therefore the business of some of the largest food processors and manufacturers in the world.
Growing the business from the humble beginnings of one man’s dream in 1979, twice successfully relocating to new facilities due to expansion and now having a dedicated team of 80 enthusiastic professionals willing to take it to the next level.
Giving our team members the opportunity to maximize their potential through learning and advancement from within.
LP: What’s next for the company?
DS: The adventure continues! Our company is excited about the future and the industries we serve. Everything at Douglas Machines Corp. is driven by curiosity. We’ll keep asking questions and listening, leveraging that information to combine reliable technology with thorough knowledge in building more intuitive products.
Our goal is to partner with customers to bring solutions to market addressing emerging needs and trends such as automation due to labor shortages, aging capacity requiring new technology updates, along with a stronger emphasis on food safety processes, regulation and reporting. The emphasis is on improved performance and quality, so customers benefit from our knowledge, while profiting from our experience.