Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 80

INGREDIENT HANDLING
Specifically, more consistent quality, increasing capacity
and eliminating manual labor, such as lifting and
repetitive motion, top the reasons for automating and
technological investments, noted the " 2021 Workforce
Gap/Automation Industry Study, " conducted by Cypress
Research for Baking & Snack magazine. When it comes
to ingredient handling, the survey of bakers indicated
that recipe handling and traceability software along with
other recipe-driven systems and the use of totes topped
the list. More than a quarter of smaller to mid-sized bakeries
with sales under $100 million indicated they are
planning to purchase or upgrade micro and minor ingredient
handling systems.
To mitigate the initial investments, many bakeries
are taking a building-block approach to ingredient automation.
This approach allows them to alleviate more
immediate labor-related issues while providing them a
foundation to expand the system as capacity grows, said
Nathan Davis, sales engineer, The Fred D. Pfening Co.
" ROI used to be calculated on plant operators who
historically were readily available if positions became
vacant, " he said. " Today, bakeries are clamoring to find
skilled workers and keep them in the bakery, so they
don't jump ship to someplace else. As a result, the ROI
is at a different level because the plant operators who are
working these systems are more valuable now. "
That's why risk management has been added to the
formula for investing. Call it R+ROI or ROI 2.0.
" In the past, many big players said they wanted to
pay off investments in a year, or at most, two years, " Mr.
Hunter said. " Now, how do you figure the ROI on the
risk of the plant not running at full capacity? That's the
real question. "
Loads of labor landmines
The bakeries most impacted by the workforce gap are
those relying on people to perform basic tasks such as
scaling small ingredients and loading them into mixers.
Kevin Pecha, director food sales, AZO Food, suggested
that automation and strategic investments in technology
minimize the repetitive tasks and allow for experienced
operators to perform other key duties such as those related
to production, sanitation or quality control.
" The greater the automation, the less reliant a bakery
is on having skilled laborers, " he said. " Additionally, the
level of automation takes the burden of inconsistency
out of the finished product and can perform recordkeeping
without the involvement of the operator. "
Mr. Hunter pointed out that skilled labor - specifically
those who have experience in running a bakery -
are in short supply.
" They're temporary or coming from another industry
and don't have the knowledge or experience to run
80 Baking & Snack May 2022 / www.bakingbusiness.com
AUTOMATION ADDS CONSISTENCY
TO ARTISAN BAKING
Artisan bakeries can automate their ingredient
handling in many ways to reduce
labor and heavy lifting while preserving
the art of baking. Often it's not that much
different from the way other companies
streamline their operations with semiautomatic
ingredient weighing and batching.
" The semiautomatic hand prompt or
kitchen-type batching system provides
a control accuracy of ingredient weighing,
well-documented formulas, and the
existence and implementation of ingredient
lot tracking to ensure food safety and
compliance, " noted Don Goshert, general
manager, Sterling Systems & Controls.
" The artisan baked goods are still handmade
to the artisan formula, but with
more consistency in quality and more
efficiency. "
John Hunter, sales account manager,
bakery and ingredient handling, B├╝hler
Group, said recipe management systems
can control the scheduling of production
and monitor how the ingredients are being
added to the mixer to reduce errors.
Many artisan bakeries rely on dozens
of different ingredients to often produce
hundreds of SKUs for retail and foodservice
accounts. Nathan Davis, sales
engineer, The Fred D. Pfening Co., recommended
automating those ingredients
that a bakery uses most each week.
" Those are your best ingredients for
automation, " he said. " There are going to
be some unusual ingredients that aren't
worth automating today because you only
use them seasonally or to make a small
run of their products. "
Doan Pendleton, president of Vac-UMax,
concurred that automation allows
bakeries to duplicate their formulation,
increase production and provide customers
with batch consistency.
" Automation does not necessarily mean
large-scale, or that only the big bakeries
can afford or adopt it, " he said. " Vacuum
conveying affords accurate recipes and
reduced labor costs in small batches, too. "
http://www.bakingbusiness.com

Baking & Snack - May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - May 2022

Baking & Snack - May 2022 - Intro
Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 1
Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 2
Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 3
Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 4
Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 5
Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 6
Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 7
Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 8
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Baking & Snack - May 2022 - 11
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