Danco - On the road to baking success in China

Recipes for efficiency? With Haas products and processes, a smooth baking operation is all in a day's work. The Danco success story in Zhangzhou, China is a typical example of how effective production can be set up and optimized thanks to Haas expertise and technology.


When the president of Danco, Mr. Tumu Cai, president of Danco Group realized that expert help was required, Haas-CFT and Haas-Mondomix had precisely the right solutions. Danco was established in 1992, but in its first ten years of operation, the business was simply not profitable. "I feel the reason was the locally produced machinery we were using, which did not allow for any product variation," Mr. Tumu Cai explained. "In 2004 and 2005 we spent much on advertising. However, sales did not pick up," Mr. Tumu Cai continued.


Searching for solutions

When the company's product assortment still wasn't satisfactory by 2005, Danco management decided to travel to Europe. "We found three products which particularly appealed to us - a soft waffle, a kind of breakfast cereal and a croissant variety. Eventually we decided in favor of the soft waffle, because we believed it would best meet Chinese taste preferences," Mr. Tumu Cai recalled.

In order to find a suitable technology provider, Danco management returned to Europe in 2006 to visit two European machine manufacturers. One of them was Haas. "We looked to Haas as the better choice. Still, it was a gamble to invest in soft waffle production for Chinese consumers, a product previously unknown to consumers," Mr. Tumu Cai pointed out.


A wise decision

The first waffle line was soon ordered and by September 2007, the new product was launched in the market. Danco was the first manufacturer to bring soft waffles to Chinese supermarket shelves. "Consumers were not familiar with soft waffles at that time. They thought it was a kind of sponge cake, so we engaged in extensive sales promotion, such as free give-aways for tasting. At the beginning we were actually losing money in this venture," Mr. Tumu Cai added.
However, business picked up in 2008 and Danco responded to demand by ordering a second Haas line. In the meantime, Danco has ordered a further line and the company is the primary manufacturer of soft waffles in China. Danco has also decided to expand its cooperation with Haas by adding more variety to its product assortment.

"To develop a new product our orientation is always the market demand. We need to know where or what our customers want. When we discuss our samples and ideas with Haas, their food technologists and engineers provide immediate feedback. We have access to Haas laboratory facilities for trials. Thus we can easily determine whether to launch a product. The samples we produce with Haas bring our ideas to life," Mr. Junbiao Xu, GM of Danco, Danco's General Manager pointed out.


Close counsel

"For me, the close relationship between Haas and Danco is crucial. In our business, you sell machines or solutions for millions of euros. Initially everything depends upon the partners' trust in each other. Our machines are standard solutions, but each individual application is unique," Tao Kan, Head of Sales, Haas Shanghai explained. "In the past 11 years all the spare parts and service activities Haas recommended were accepted by Danco. Danco and Haas keep close counsel on all levels from management to engineering staff: For example, the biggest challenge in the butter crisps and butter crumble projects was to help the customer realize their target. You see, no matter how many trials you perform in the lab – it was still only in the lab. So when you transfer the same technology from the lab to the industrial equipment it is not unusual to encounter difficulties. Danco expects overall efficiency at each stage, from mixing and depositing to baking and cooling," he stressed. "In the past we only talked about machines. But now we are selling processing equipment. We start with the desired product and finish by bringing the idea to life," he explained.
"Danco has a very good grasp of which products are good for the Chinese market. We simply provide the best machines to make their dreams come true," Jesse Xiao, Sales Manager for Danco at Haas Shanghai pointed out. "On the other hand, we have a very clear understanding of our customer's requirements. I want to grow with this customer," he said.


Reliable and trustworthy

"We buy equipment from several European countries, but personally, I think Haas is the best. Haas is a reliable company we trust completely. You know, with some suppliers, after you've bought the machine, there's no ongoing partnership in terms of further product development. Haas is continuously giving us support, not only for the production lines, but also in service and product development. Those are the points I like," Mr. Tumu Cai stressed.
"I believe Haas provides very good service. For example, we had a problem with the mixing unit in the butter crisp line. We received calm, efficient support from Andreas Schoch, Haas General Manager," Mr. Junbiao Xu recalled.
"I frequently travel to Europe because we are always looking for new products and new possibilities for our company. So, we sit with Haas to explore further concepts. Personally, I believe our companies and our families share common values: We are honest, responsible people and we keep our promises. Aren't those traits vital to earning respect?" Mr. Tumu Cai concluded.

At a glance

Danco runs eight Haas lines: one butter crisp, one butter crumble and six soft waffle lines. Danco introduced soft waffles to the Chinese market.
The butter crisp line is completely new. It is run on a 24-hour basis, three days a week. The Danco's butter crisps are premium products in China. Many manufacturers offer butter crisps, but in a low quality version. Danco processes only special fats and select ingredients.
The contract for this line was signed during the last interpack exhibition in 2014. The line was built in Leobendorf, whereas sales and installation were handled by our colleagues at Haas Food Machinery in Shanghai. The line has a very low waste rate of only 0.8%. During summer months the temperature in the plant reaches up to 40° C. A staff of two run the line in 30-minute shifts. The first soft waffle line was delivered to Danco in 2007.

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