Mars' general manager Craig HallMars Ice Cream is proud to be named the Dairy Foods 2012 Plant of the Year as we celebrate our 25th anniversary in Burr Ridge, Ill. People in the industry often ask me what makes Mars so different from other companies. I believe the key to our success is Mars’ Five Principles of Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom. These are the foundation of our culture and guide our approach to business. I want to share with you some of the ways we at Mars Ice Cream put our Principles into action.

Quality. The consumer is our boss, and we won’t compromise on our standards. We have a proactive supplier certification program as well as an in-house auditing program that we believe is innovative.  Our goal is to continually “raise the bar” on our audits and to welcome them as a means to continuous improvement. 

For example, we engage others in our business to review using a “Fresh Eyes” approach.  This means that experienced associates are auditing and looking at our systems from a new perspective to offer feedback for improvements. 

Consumers recognize and appreciate our commitment to quality. Dovebar Vanilla Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate just earned an “excellent” rating in the July 2012 issue of Consumer Reports, and last summer our Dovebar Vanilla Ice Cream with Milk Chocolate won a taste test in “America’s Test Kitchen” for Cook’s Illustrated.

Responsibility. All our associates take responsibility for results and exercise initiative and judgment when making decisions. As part of our commitment to the industry, a group from the Mars management team met with Congressional leaders earlier this year to discuss our responsibility in leading important industry issues as part of the International Dairy Food Association’s Washington conference. I attended with our Ice Cream Plant Director Kimberly Latham and Albany, Ga. Plant Director Kelvin Graham.

Mutuality. We believe the standard by which our business relationships should be measured is the degree to which mutual benefits are created. We build strong partnerships with our suppliers, customers, consumers and associates. As an example, protecting the world’s cocoa supply is mutually beneficial, so Mars pledged to purchase its entire cocoa supply from certified sustainable sources by 2020. Another illustration of mutuality is our ground-breaking Ice Cream Assortment Study, which educated convenience-store buyers on how category management can help grow ice cream novelty sales.

Efficiency. We constantly look for ways to improve efficiency and quality, and to reduce waste.  I’m proud to say that our manufacturing facility in Burr Ridge is now 100% landfill free. We use problem solving as a way to identify opportunities for improvement and focus resources where needed.

Freedom. Mars believes that we need freedom to shape our future, and as one of the world’s largest family-owned corporations, this independence enables our company to achieve growth and prosperity.

Our founder, Forrest Mars Sr., dreamed of building a business based on the philosophy of a “mutuality of benefits” for all stakeholders. This vision serves as the foundation of Mars Inc. including Mars Ice Cream. The approximately 70,000 Mars associates worldwide put the Mars Principles in action every day, making a difference for people and the planet through our performance.


AT a glance

Year plant built/opened: Built in 1974 as a truck parts manufacturing facility. Mars bought it and converted it to a dairy facility in 1986.

Size of the plant: 282,000 square feet on 26 acres

Number of employees: Approximately 130 in manufacturing and 180 in the total ice cream business

Products made: Bars, cones, sandwiches and stick novelties. The bar brands are: Snickers, Twix, Milky Way and Dove. Cones are Snickers and M&M’s. Ice cream cookie sandwiches are M&M’s and Snickers Brownie. Stick novelties are Dove Ice Cream Bars. Pints (co-packed off site) are Milky Way, Snickers, Twix, Twix Peanut Butter, Snickers Rocky Road, Dove and M&M’s.

Number of shifts: Three to four, depending on demand

Storage silos: 10

Pasteurization: High-temperature/short time and batch pasteurizers

Number of filling lines/types: Four ice cream novelty lines producing stick, cone, sandwich, and bar formats