KING MILLING COMPANY
Innovation and tradition may seem like words that do not belong together, but both accurately describe King Milling Company in Lowell. Founded in 1890, the fourth and fifth generation of the Doyle family lead the operation today with an eye toward the future. In the 132 years since their founding, the state of Michigan has seen a decline in flour mills from 700 to just six. King Milling has remained successful through a mixture of automation and having a team that feels like family.
“Automation really took place in the 1980s, but we’ve continued to upgrade to the latest technology and innovated to best serve our customers,” Brian Doyle shared. “They count on us as excellent partners because we focus on getting them what they want when they need it. Their customers range from iconic West Michigan food brands to smaller volumes in countries like Mexico, Spain, and Trinidad. For their employees, automation at King Milling has meant a reduction in the backbreaking work of stacking 50-pound flour sacks repeatedly, as well as freed their millers to “focus on their craft.” Electronic sensors now alert operators of any back-ups and the computer adjusts the speed of production so that they can manage the issues. Their team has embraced their innovation. Besides automation, King has integrated technology into all areas of the company. Brian said, “We implemented a web-based food safety program five years ago, and now everything from cleaning and sanitation, to packaging and shipping is documented electronically. Everyone in the plant can see whether tasks are getting done on time according to procedure. It made us a much better company, but it also means every person we hire has to have technical skills and be able to use computers to document their work.” Internal promotion is common at King Milling. Employees started in general labor or packaging roles and worked their way up to quality assurance, information technology, production manager, and other highly skilled positions. On-the-job training is provided. All employees are trained annually in food safety and a variety of other risk management topics. The average tenure is over 15 years, however, that came down because of recent retirements of two employees who had each served over 40 years with the organization. “One team member drives from the Clare area every day to work here.” That dedication speaks to the supportive atmosphere King Milling offers. To learn more about King Milling, visit their website.