Bettcher Industries, a manufacturer of food processing equipment for industrial applications, opened the new Bettcher Innovation Center (BIC) in June 2016 in Birmingham, north-east Ohio, US.

Located within the company’s headquarters, the new facility is one of the many major improvements projects being carried out at the campus.

The multi-use innovation centre is aimed at accelerating innovation throughout all aspects of the company’s business by enabling conceptual testing, demonstrations, and strategic collaboration among employees, customers and business partners, under one roof.

It is designed to help the company serve the practical needs of its customers and businesses, as well as to explore new ideas and opportunities.

Facilities and features in the innovation centre

The innovation centre is comprised three main areas, namely a test kitchen, a demo lab and a collaboration area.

"The multi-use innovation centre is aimed at accelerating innovation throughout all aspects of the company’s business."

The test kitchen is a commercial-grade space featuring state-of-the-art appliances and equipment for various purposes, including prepping, cooking and testing of food products.

The demo lab is where the existing and the soon-to-be launched company-designed tools and equipment will be tested. It is equipped with testing tools that can handle wet application testing and support international product test and training.

With first-class amenities such as workbenches, glass writing boards and white wall backdrops for clear video and photography shoots, the lab is an ideal place for conducting global training events and product promotions.

The collaboration space features office furniture and other amenities to allow small groups of brainstorming sessions, and is designed to improve overall meeting productivity. It features internet and other technology-related integration for conducting online research and for ideation sessions.

A large display wall showcasing the company’s current product offerings provides a real-time view of the products to both internal and external visitors.

Besides these three areas, there is a hallway leading to the entrance of the BIC featuring vintage brochures and advertisements of Bettcher’s portfolio of products and inventions in the past seven decades.

The BIC’s interiors are designed to reflect the inventive and ingenious spirit of the past owners and employees who contributed to the company’s success.

Functions at Bettcher’s centre for innovation

The innovation centre will be used by the company’s employees, including its engineering, sales and marketing teams for their strategic and customer-centric activities. It will also serve as a venue for events and meetings that will be conducted to better understand evolving customer trends in the industry.

A special team known as Bettcher Idea Factory conducts monthly internal ideation sessions, end-user focus groups, and new product development discovery sessions called ‘voice of the customer’ to collect data, which would be considered while developing new products.

The centre will also conduct select beta testing on finished products to confirm their performance characteristics and marketing claims and to provide new product launch training for its worldwide distributor personnel.

Marketing commentary on Bettcher Industries

Founded in 1944, Bettcher Industries is an integrated manufacturing company holding roughly 100 active patents. It develops and manufactures innovative equipment for food processing, foodservice, industrial, medical and other operations. With a global customer base, it has direct distribution and service in more than 60 countries.

The new innovation centre is part of the major improvement projects initiated at the company’s headquarters. The improvements are being made to transform the entire headquarters property into a state-of-the-art campus in terms of facilities, communications, connectivity and other amenities.