On Friday, September 24th, the Supply Chain Association went to Auntie Anne’s in Lancaster, PA for our first trip of the year. Our tour consisted of two parts. We first stopped at the manufacturing facility where the dough is mixed and the pretzels are rolled. The plant managers walked us through the process of making Auntie Anne’s pretzels from start to finish. While we were there, the plant was busy making Pretzel Dogs. We were amazed to see how manual the entire process was. Almost everything is done by hand. We got to see all stages of the production from the blending, to the rolling and finally, the baking. One first year student, Damon Fisher, learned a lot from the plant tour. “I really enjoyed the up close view of Auntie Anne’s operations. It was nice to get an understanding of what the issues were from a procurement perspective and the fact that sometimes the whole line had to be shut down if certain supplies were not obtained in a timely manner. This is in alignment with Auntie Anne’s key differentiation of freshness. We wouldn’t have felt close to the operation if we’d only visited the headquarters office.”
We also learned that fundraising is a large part of Auntie Anne’s business. Most of the products that they make are frozen and shipped to students across the country to sell to their friends and neighbors to help make money for their school. Most of us were surprised by this, since we typically associate Auntie Anne’s with the concession stand in our local mall. Kolika Chatterjee, a first year student really enjoyed the trip. “Coming from the industry, I was familiar with (and excited to revisit) some of the nuances, but the details still amazed me. There’s so much about Auntie Anne’s though that I had no idea about going in—like the volume, the fund raising share, the labor intensive process etc. It was really helpful, mapping the SCM idea onto a moving system. Great job planning this…where to next?”
For the second half of the tour, we went to Auntie Anne’s corporate headquarters located in downtown Lancaster. We met Scot Crain, Chief Customer Officer, and as he walked us through the office he explained how Auntie Anne’s image has changed over the years as well as how the business has grown. It was interesting to see how the franchises have expanded since the 80’s. We were surprised to see the vast list of countries that have added Auntie Anne franchises since the company went international in 1995. We also enjoyed walking through the official Auntie Anne’s training center. The center consisted of a life size store set up with all the functioning parts. We learned that all new franchise owners have to come to the headquarters in Lancaster and go through a thorough training before they can open their own store. At the end of the tour, we were all given kits to make our own Auntie Anne’s pretzels at home. Chad Handley, another first year student, thought it was good to see real life concepts outside of the classroom. He also appreciated that the right people were there for both tours. They were able to give us a complete tour and answer all of our questions. All in all, the Supply Chain Association had a great time in Lancaster and we can’t wait for our next trip!