How Killer Brownie company gained efficiency and sparked growth

University of Dayton consulting program helps manufacturers solve an array of problems.



You can find them at Paycor Stadium, served to those in first-class seating on airlines and on your local store shelves.

For Killer Brownie, the brownie business has never been better.

But with great growth comes, sometimes, great inefficiencies. The Miamisburg food producer enlisted the help of the University of Dayton Fastlane manufacturing consulting program to iron those inefficiencies out and position the business for its next chapter.

Fastlane helped Killer Brownie with a packaging line changeover, among other projects, said Matt Ross, chief operating officer at the brownie business. The company went from taking about 45 minutes for packaging resets to taking 15 minutes, multiple times a week.

“When you’re running at 200 packages a minute, 30 minutes is a huge deal,” Ross said.

Killer Brownie gained about 20% efficiency last year. That means the company is able to produce the same amount as it did last year, but about 20% faster. It is producing more at the same or lower cost, Ross said.

“I said before I would put our team up against any team in the world to get stuff done,” Ross said. “It’s amazing what they’ve done over the last several years.”

Rapid growth

Killer Brownie traces its lineage to a beginning as a Dorothy Lane Market treat in the late 1970s. It became a separate wholesale entity in 2000, and it has grown rapidly since moving to Miamisburg in 2019.

The company is ready to invest in a new Miamisburg building at 2495 Technical Drive, hoping to create 20 new jobs and protect more than 120 current jobs.

The plan for the company is to use both its current 650 Precision Court and the Technical Drive location, Ross said.



The Precision Court location will continue to be used for manufacturing while the newer location will be devoted to office space and research and development. The company’s total square footage will grow to 50,000.

The company is asking for $100,000 in Montgomery County ED/GE funds (Economic Development/Government Equity) for what is estimated to be a $900,000 project, aimed at renovating the new location and purchasing new equipment.

The secret to Killer Brownie’s success?

“We have a great product first of all,” Ross said. “They are brownies. So it’s a fun business to be in. And we just have a fantastic team that’s willing to figure things out, humble enough to make changes.”

There were fewer than 10 Killer Brownie employees about seven years ago. There are about 140 now, Ross said in an interview. The company has grown revenue by about 10 times.

Ross recalled learning about UD’s Fastlane program in an Aileron newsletter. (Aileron is a business education and support campus in Tipp City, founded by billionaire Clay Mathile in 2008.)

Manufacturers are very focused, and they don’t necessarily spend a lot of time networking or looking at the big picture, said Phil Ratermann, Fastlane director and a veteran of Hobart Corp. and Illinois Tool Works.

When a manufacturer or advocate talks to another entrepreneur about Fastlane — a fee-for-service non-profit focusing on West Central Ohio — “That’s a strong endorsement,” Ratermann said. “It’s changed our business.”

“It’s golden for us,” he added.

Fastlane started helping companies early in 2013. The outfit has grown to 15 people from just Ratermann and a couple of part-timers.

Fastlane works with around 100 clients a year, including some big projects with Dayton-area household names, like Honda, GE Aerospace, Midmark and Henny-Penny, among others. Most clients are medium-sized employers.

When it comes to Killer Brownie, Fastlane has assisted with eight projects over two or three years, including marketing videos, helping with production line changeovers and fixing general efficiencies.

Fastane can help with an array of problems, Ratermann said, including supply chain hiccups, quality problems, adopting new technologies and pushing down scrap rates.

Between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the third quarter of 2023, Fastlane says it helped its clients achieve $954.7 million in new and retained sales, create or protect more than 7,000 new and retained jobs and save $88.4 million.

About the Author