Poultry processor breaks out of the box with packaging line automation and one-piece corrugated cartons
Claiming perfection is not a mere idle boast for folks at Perfect Poultry Inc., but rather a daily pursuit of operational and packaging excellence that has enabled the Toronto-based chicken processor to spread its wings at a very impressive pace despite some early turbulence and setbacks.
And if breaking into the highly-competitive business right at the peak of the Avian Flu epidemic back in 2004 may have seemed like a slight case of irrational exuberance at the time of a nationwide shortage of edible birds, it seems more like a stroke of genius today in light of the upstart’s steady rise through the industry ranks, especially in the challenging economic climate of the last few years.
“Hey, everybody’s gotta eat, even during these tough economic times,” says company co-owner and president Danny Rother, who founded the further processing operation jointly with his old pal Ian Segal, who oversees sales and purchasing.
“Once the Avian Flu crisis was over and we were able to ensure a steady supply of poultry, our business has grown steadily every year since,” Segal told Canadian Packaging on a recent visit to the company’s 23,000-square-foot production facility in the city’s north end.
Employing 65 people to process and package fresh chicken drums, thighs, wings and breasts for major grocery chains across Canada, the company is perfectly content to focus on the further processing segment of the business, according to Rother, rather than developing its own consumer brands.
“We don’t have our own brands, and it was a conscious decision,” explains Rother. “We knew from the start that the poultry market is a very tough one, with many popular, respected and big-name companies involved, so we thought it might be a better business if we became a further processor, who also did the packaging on-site.
“What we do is ensure that we cut up the chickens into whatever cuts the customer’s order calls for,” he adds, “while ensuring we only supply the best chicken out there, which has been processed in a perfectly safe and clean environment.”
To back up that premise, the Perfect Poultry plant became a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)-certified facility almost right from the outset, according to Segal.
“Being HACCP-certified lets our customers know that along with providing a high-quality product, we are also very serious about providing a safe product for the consumer,” says Segal, pointing out that cutting corners or doing just a bare minimum to get by is just not part of the company’s hardworking culture and philosophy.
“While it is true that we are always looking to streamline our production line in order to save time and money, we have absolutely no interest in cutting corners in any which way,” asserts Segal. “What makes this company a successful one is our competitive nature, our ongoing quest for efficiency, and our ability to always look after our customers’ needs by going that extra mile for them.
“We often have short turn-around times on orders, where a customer will call us up and tell us they need a certain product now,” he says, “and we always manage to get it done for when they need it.”