15 Jul Member Spotlight- Grain Craft
What an incredible story of local history, expansion, the milling and packaging process and product destinations. At the McPherson Chamber Connections, attendees were treated to incredibly interesting information about a local landmark, and the opportunity to see firsthand how the process works. Rick Wall shared that the Grain Craft milling facility at 416 N. Main was founded in 1906 by his grandfather and uncle as W-R Mill (Wall-Rogalsky Milling Company). It then sold to Cereal Food Processors in 2000 which merged with Pendleton Flour Mills and Milner Milling in 2014 to form Grain Craft. Bringing together three milling companies to create the largest independent four miller in the nation. Grain Craft supplies bagged and bulk four to customers coast to coast for food service, pizza and tortilla industries and grocery stores. Locally, Grain Craft mills and packages flour in 2 to 50-pound sacks that include the original W-R flour and private label flour such as Great Value (Walmart’s brand), Kroger (Dillon’s brand) and Bakers Corner (Aldi’s brand). With 14 milling facilities, McPherson is Grain Craft’s primary small packaging mill.
Clint Church, plant manager at Grain Craft shared information about the expansion timeline that began in November of 2017 and has greatly improving the packing and loading efficiency and increased the warehouse storage space. Wheat trucks that used to line up for blocks, now use a different traffic pattern and can unload in only 6 minutes verses 40+ minutes, because of the new high-speed wheat receiving pit with a dump through scale. The new traffic pattern is 100% better for traffic flow, and the Grain Craft team said with the improved unload capacity, they can unload 48-50 trucks a day.
Once the wheat is unloaded, it goes through the on-site milling process (which is a lesson in itself) and is then packaged and palletized by new robotic equipment. The improved packaging and palletizing process runs multiple lines that are totally automated, making it safer for employees and increasing the production. Although robotics plays a big role in the packaging lines, Grain Craft still employs just as many or more people to keep up with the increased production capacity.
We appreciate Clint Church and the team at Grain Craft, for the amazing opportunity to learn about the rich history, the recent expansions and improvements, and the impact that our hometown mill has locally and nationally. See pictures from the Chamber Connections on our Facebook and learn more about Grain Craft at www.graincraft.com