Instore - June 2018 - 43
Mid-sized wholesale manufacturers are competing in a very aggressive, price-driven segment, where volume sales are needed
to increase the profitability of the business, Macpherson says.
Every method towards lean manufacturing and improved portion control is even more critical than ever before. "Like many
things in the bakery business we have seen huge price increases
over the last year and basic raw materials like sugar, flour, eggs
and dairy so portion control is even more critical than ever before," Macpherson says.
"But equally as important is the product consistency. Customers
expect to get the same consistent quality every time they purchase a familiar product. which is where clean and accurate depositing comes in."
As is the case with most equipment, flexibility is key. Many commissaries have limited space to work within, so equipment that
is flexible, portable and can fit within an allotted footprint is necessary.
Consistency and accuracy are key in portion control. Photo: Hinds-Bock
"Allergens and product cross-contamination is a concern for bakers
more than ever before, so machines need to be easy to clean with unskilled labor," he says. "That is why we design all our machines to have
the absolute minimal amount of parts to clean, maintain and handle and
that can be disassembled without the need for tools. Furthermore, Unifiller machines will only go together one way - the correct way - or it
simply won't go back together."
"Bakeries also need equipment that is flexible," Aasness says.
"Often you will see an intermediate bakery with a desire to grow,
and with growth their production equipment needs to be able to
grow and produce many different products."
Macpherson notes that many commissaries and central kitchens continue to struggle with the ever-growing task of finding and employing
even entry-level workers. Recent increases in minimum wage levels
could mean that these companies need to turn to alternative production
That means an investment in equipment, and the switch to automated
portioning could pay off big. "One of the biggest needs is to reduce the
amount of labor, and one of the highest costs is the constant retraining
of new workers," he says. "We have seen an increase in the need for automated depositing systems that require minimum skill."
And that goes hand-in-hand with the need for increased accuracy, Aasness says. When labor is inexpensive or a start-up does not have the
funds or contracts yet to purchase equipment, hand-portioning might
make sense. After that, it's a move to consider.
"Consistency and accuracy are key," he says. "Many kitchens still use
the hand scooping, eyeballing or ladle method of portioning. This will
not provide a consistent accurate product that consumers look forward
to and it will most definitely affect your bottom line at the end of the
year. Every single item that goes into your products has been paid for
by you. The higher the accuracy in portioning, the higher your profits."
It goes without saying that accuracy is doubly important when ingredient costs are on the rise.
commissary INSIDER * JUNE 2018 * 43