Cook­ing shows can cer­tainly be en­ter­tain­ing, but for many that watch them they also pro­vide path­ways to culi­nary im­prove­ment. That’s to say who doesn’t want to have a crack at per­fect­ing a recipe or two.

Business First - - COACHING -

The thing is, you gen­er­ally need de­cent cook­ing tools to cre­ate your mas­ter chef mas­ter­piece. That in­cludes an oven.

Wayne Viles knows all about top ovens. The trained Patissiere ran a pizza busi­ness for 10 years be­fore sell­ing up and se­cur­ing a po­si­tion at Ro­bot Coupe as the Sales Man­ager for Vic­to­ria and Tasmania

In a round­about way, that was his in­tro­duc­tion to UNOX, which man­u­fac­tures com­mer­cial ovens.

“The owner of Ro­bot Coupe had an­other busi­ness distribut­ing im­ported prod­ucts, and UNOX hap­pened to be part of this range,” Viles says.

“I saw UNOX as a great prod­uct, and sold a few hun­dred ma­chines in what we know as 3 Se­ries. This al­lowed me to build my pas­sion for this prod­uct, which just hap­pened to al­low me to be as­so­ci­ated as ‘The UNOX guy’, which worked very well when the op­por­tu­nity was of­fered to me to part­ner with the fac­tory.

Now, as the gen­eral man­ager of UNOX Aus­tralia, he is at the coal­face of a com­pany that is known for in­ven­tion and in­no­va­tion.


UNOX was founded in 1990. They started mak­ing small con­vec­tion ovens to part­ner with pas­try man­u­fac­tur­ers. The man­u­fac­tur­ers would then of­fer these ovens to cafés and bars in Italy.

“The rate of in­no­va­tion and con­stant im­prove­ment pro­cesses that take place within the busi­ness is star­tling,” Viles says.

“All of our Combi ovens (a combi oven is an oven with three func­tions: con­vec­tion, steam and com­bi­na­tion cook­ing) are web en­abled with the abil­ity for soft­ware up­dates au­to­mat­i­cally sent from the fac­tory. It means that your oven is con­stantly evolv­ing. It’s amaz­ing.

But UNOX is not only about bring­ing in­no­va­tion to the in­dus­try, it is also to im­prove busi­nesses’ re­turns on in­vest­ment.

“UNOX has long recog­nised that the pur­chase price of Combi ovens ex­tends the re­turn on in­vest­ment. UNOX set about chang­ing this equa­tion world­wide, by im­ple­ment­ing Lean Man­u­fac­tur­ing and On Time Man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tems learned from com­pa­nies like Toy­ota. This has al­lowed us to of­fer what we be­lieve to be the Best Value in the mar­ket.”

It was that kind of con­sumer fo­cused think­ing that was the foun­da­tion of what has be­come a well-re­spected in­dus­try leader with an out­stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence.

“I like to think of a rep­u­ta­tion be­ing based on ser­vice, we have a sim­ple phi­los­o­phy: un­der prom­ise and over de­liver. Many busi­nesses seem to be good at do­ing it the other way around!”

Viles at­tributes the com­pany’s suc­cess, par­tic­u­larly in Aus­tralia, to just an­swer­ing the phone.

“Be the guy that is more re­spon­sive to your clients and more im­por­tantly your cus­tomer, be­ing the end user. The re­la­tion­ship with the end user is what will al­low you to grow, and be the re­li­able source of in­for­ma­tion, ad­vice and as­sis­tance, and of­ten this might re­late to some­thing other than your prod­uct.

As far as Aus­tralia is con­cerned, UNOX has only been a fac­tory busi­ness since Jan­uary 2009.

“I re­mem­ber sit­ting on the floor

of a small of­fice, wait­ing for the fur­ni­ture I had bought at auc­tion to turn up; it was 500 square me­tres of ware­house and no kitchen, and a very small bud­get.”

Clearly, Viles’ val­ues are well aligned with UNOX. He is cog­nisant of the re­quire­ments of his stake­hold­ers from clients, to con­sumers; he is at­ten­tive to their needs and he has an in­fec­tious at­ti­tude that all staff has em­braced.

“I am very proud of what our staff al­lowed us to achieve. They have made sure we are suc­cess­ful and are more im­por­tant than any prod­uct, in any busi­ness.”

With the suc­cess of the Aus­tralian divi­sion, UNOX is now the largest man­u­fac­turer of com­mer­cial ovens world­wide. Con­tin­ued in­no­va­tion With in­dus­try de­mands grow­ing and chang­ing, UNOX has had to con­tinue its in­no­va­tion trend to main­tain its lead­er­ship po­si­tion.

The com­pany is com­pet­ing against many other man­u­fac­tur­ers with myr­iad prod­ucts and many with web fea­tures.

What sets UNOX apart is its com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­ity.

“UNOX stud­ies and con­sid­ers ev­ery as­pect of sus­tain­abil­ity and the life cy­cle of a ma­chine, how it is man­u­fac­tured, and what hap­pens at the end of its life and dis­posal,” Viles says.

“We are con­stantly look­ing at how to im­prove, par­tic­u­larly within the man­u­fac­tur­ing process and how we can re­use prod­ucts dur­ing this process. This, in turn, in­creases com­pet­i­tive­ness by re­duc­ing costs of man­u­fac­tur­ing. As we own 98% of the com­po­nent man­u­fac­tur­ing, we are able to also con­trol the re­duc­tion of waste in all of our com­po­nent busi­nesses as well.

“Power and wa­ter con­sump­tion are very im­por­tant as well, with prices ris­ing and the im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, it is im­por­tant to be the best here as well. UNOX was the first to use LED tech­nol­ogy in light­ing the in­te­rior of the oven, and re­moved the light from the cav­ity to the door to guar­an­tee long life and lit­tle or no re­place­ment. We were also the first to cre­ate the Triple Glazed Door, which dra­mat­i­cally re­duces the heat loss from the oven, there­fore in­creas­ing cook­ing ef­fi­ciency and low­er­ing run­ning costs. We have our own chemists on staff who have cre­ated a range of Eco Plant based chem­i­cal for the ovens clean­ing sys­tem, which we will see here in Aus­tralia shortly.”

Clearly there is a large com­mit­ment to in­no­va­tion, ser­vice and value.

“We try to of­fer the best value, be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter any process to do with our busi­ness. My per­sonal goal for our busi­ness is to have the best ser­vice in the in­dus­try. Given the na­ture of our busi­ness, and how equip­ment in a kitchen is of­ten treated, this is dif­fi­cult, but it is what I would re­ally like to achieve. I think we can do it.”


Given its growth as a global com­pany, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that UNOX is still a fam­ily op­er­ated busi­ness, which hold these fam­ily val­ues close to its hearts.

Cer­tainly, Viles main­tains these val­ues.

“Our son Zach has worked for us for the past six or seven years and has been asked to move to the United States of­fice to de­velop the sales team for the next few years. Hope­fully he will re­turn and I look for­ward to him step­ping in, and me step­ping back.”

UNOX is cur­rently the fastest grow­ing oven man­u­fac­turer in the world.

Mean­while, UNOX Aus­tralia has al­ways matched and in some pe­ri­ods, out­grown com­pany pro­jec­tions and Viles is look­ing to keep it this way.

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