Shaking up the industry: how tna developed the world’s first end-to-end snack production solution
posted on 2 September, 2020 by Bindu Panicker - Brand & Corporate Communications Manager
It has been an exciting journey for tna over the last few years. From developing our very own manufacturing service line in Melbourne in the 80s, to making some key acquisitions that helped shape our entire offering, we have come a long way. One of our proudest moments was when we took a huge step to become the world’s first complete solutions provider for the snack industry, seven years ago.
As part of our trip down memory lane, we take a look back to our evolution from an equipment innovator, to a total packaging and processing solutions provider and a partner for the snack industry. And who better to ask than Nadia and Alf Taylor, founders and directors at tna.
Can you give us an overview of some of the key milestones in tna’s journey so far?
Alf: Where do I begin….Developing our first and primary product, the robag®, on the back of a beer coaster, has always been one of our biggest professional achievements. It became the world’s first pure rotary, continuous motion, Vertical Form Fill Seal (VFFS) packaging technology – and it all started at the pub! Our next significant milestone was setting up our own manufacturing facility in Melbourne, Australia, in 1986, which allowed us to meet the growing need for integrated packaging solutions in the region at that time.
From there, our idea took off, and we never looked back – despite a few ups and downs along the way. Driven by a robust business strategy, we decided to go global with the robag®. Our first international selling division in the UK was just the beginning – today we have tna operations in 30 countries worldwide and sell into 132 countries. Building experience with more varied customers meant we could better understand common challenges and what mattered most to them, and we adapted our strategy to reflect this. The plan was to provide total packaging solutions, with the aim of delivering on the key parameters of performance, speed, efficiency, and reducing waste.
How did this change in direction affect you?
Alf: Our next systems were born from this new strategy; we went from high-performance VFFS machines to total VFFS systems that produced between 2 – 2.5 times the output of conventional VFFS systems.
This allowed snack producers to double their packaging output without increasing their factory space – which, as you can imagine, made a huge difference! It was a major economic benefit to the food industry, as one of the most expensive investments for the industry was building new factories. After all, the building doesn’t add value to a producer, other than keeping the rain off the equipment and operators.
Lastly, but certainly not least, our change in strategy helped us to make several acquisitions that allowed us to expand our portfolio and food processing capabilities. Acquiring Food Design, Florigo and NID has been crucial to tna being able to provide a complete line of processing and packaging systems, and ultimately led to us becoming the world’s first end-to-end solutions provider for the snack industry.
What have been some of the challenges during this time and how has tna overcome them?
Nadia: While there have undoubtedly been challenges along the way, every step of this journey has been an exciting learning experience. Having the right attitude can go a long way both in embracing failure, as a learning experience and overcoming obstacles to succeed. That’s why we work with a positive outlook on life: unexpected outcomes and even failures are opportunities for you to learn, improve and grow.
We’ve learnt a lot from being a global organisation in this industry, as it’s allowed us to develop integrated systems on the production line that underscore efficiency, waste reduction and performance. This success would not have been possible without some challenges! Behind every great innovation is a company that is willing to take risks. We took the leap of entering the food processing market almost a decade ago, with the goal of providing total solutions. Now, the wider industry is keen to emulate this success, which inspires confidence that our strategy was right all those years ago!
What is unique about tna’s offering as an end-to-end solutions provider? Why should businesses choose tna over other players in the market?
Nadia: We pride ourselves on the quality and performance of our people and systems, so manufacturers can expect reliability across the lifetime of our equipment. It’s important to us that customers can benefit from our solutions for many years to come. But ultimately, these systems rely on simplicity at their very core – and this is truly what makes tna unique. Through the integration of electronics and software, we have effectively removed barriers along the production line, making our systems easy to understand and operate. This simplicity means that operators have been able to adapt to the technology very quickly and seamlessly to fit into their workflows. You can have the greatest technology, but if it’s not easy to use and implement, then it won’t add value.
Plus, our ability to understand where the gaps are on the production line – and bridge them – is inherent to tna’s driving ethos. Take seasoning, here it’s crucial to incorporate a system that understands the percentage seasoning cover, matching total systems output vs processing input. This can be achieved by planning output by product and pack size. Our VFFS systems technology was the first to accomplish this – and it is something that no other single company has yet achieved.
Give us a positive prediction for the snack food industry over the next 12 months – what’s the next step beyond end-to-end solutions?
Alf: Despite the current pandemic potentially leading us into a global economic slowdown, the food industry is set on a steep growth trajectory. We expect to see the food and beverage industry achieve phenomenal growth in the coming months and years – an unprecedented prediction considering the huge implications of entering a recession. From a customer’s perspective, single source supply of integrated, capital systems including service, spares and upgrades, over the life of the equipment, provides extensive benefits to them their managers, operators and service personnel. It’s clear that over the past 10-20 years, the principle of single source, high performance systems is now the accepted industry standard.
What’s next in the tna journey?
Nadia: We see ourselves as one of the flagbearers of disruptive innovation – and we plan to continue along this path for the foreseeable future. After all, innovation is not just for product development, it is at the very heart of tna, in the way we are evolving and structuring our company. Every decision that we have made since the robag® has been part of our strategic intent and is the result of our extensive learnings as a global brand – from every corner of the globe. Watch this space!
To learn more about our end-to-end solutions, click here or contact us to discuss your specific requirements. Stay connected with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook