Baking & Snack - May 2020 - 104

Many bakers have
shifted to a DSDfocused model to keep
store shelves full.
©Mihai Andritoiu - stock.
adobe.com

ready in place to help handle high-volume holidays kept
the company's team prepared for the unknown. The
question remains as to how long the additional safety
measures will need to stay in place.
On the West Coast, La Brea Bakery, San Leandro,
Calif., also had strong retail and foodservice supply chains
in place when COVID-19 hit. However, due to the nature
of its business, the bakery didn't completely shift to a retail
focus because of the crisis. Chris Prociv, vice president of
marketing, La Brea Bakery, said the company shifted to
a takeout and delivery business model at its café on S. La
Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. And for its retail arm of the
business, La Brea Bakery ramped up production to meet
consumer demand. That created several challenges as it
looked to distribute more Take & Bake artisan breads,
which are sold prepackaged and ready to bake in consumers' homes. It also bolstered production of packaged sliced
bread sold at in-store bakeries.
"The need for additional trucks due to the spike in demand at certain locations has caused the procurement of
additional spot market carrier capacity at an increased
cost," Ms. Prociv said. "Securing appointments at both
our inventory centers and customers' warehouses has
been challenging due to the increased volume and reduced availability."
These challenges required creative solutions. La Brea
Bakery began working with its retail customers directly
to identify their priorities.
"Based on these conversations, we have adjusted our
production to be more efficient and increase the production of key breads, allowing us to get our foods to our
customers faster," Ms. Provic explained. "Given our strong
sales, customer service and supply chain teams, we are
getting high marks from our key retail customers for our
quick reaction time to ensure all orders are fulfilled com-

104 Baking & Snack May 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

pletely and on time during these challenging times."
The key to meeting the increased demand, Ms. Provic
added, was adaptability.
"All of our customers are extremely important to us,
from QSRs to foodservice to, of course, retail," she said.
"As their needs change, we adapt quickly. That has been
a hallmark of our past and will continue as we move forward into this new environment."
In Puerto Rico, another well-established DSD network helped Pan Pepin, Bayamon, PR, maintain operations and deliver bread to meet the increased need.
"The majority of our business is retail, but every single
sales route has a mix of retail and foodservice customers,
so as demand has shifted from one channel to the other,
each route driver has made the necessary adjustments
as to the product variety they carry in their trucks," said
Mario Somoza, president, Pan Pepin.

Continuous challenges
The pandemic exposed several distribution challenges
that are omnipresent yet rarely rise to the level of a crisis. The availability of items like trays and the man hours
required to meet distribution needs are at the forefront.
Companies typically keep stockpiles of supplies on
hand for seasonal surges. But finding enough bread trays
in March was a particular challenge for H&S Bakery,
Baltimore. It tapped into additional tray supply for the
cluster hamburger and hot dog season - 110,000 trays
usually kept in storage.
"All that got wiped out, too," John Paterakis Jr., coprincipal and senior vice president of sales and marketing, told Josh Sosland, editor of Milling & Baking News
and president of Sosland Publishing Co. "We called the
tray companies to order more just in case we don't get
all the trays back."


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Baking & Snack - May 2020

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