An excellent bakery department is essential for satisfied customers. They expect the best quality fresh bread and pastries all day long. The risk of an overrun of labor costs and loss is high. Having a good activity plan with a reliable estimate of sales during the day is essential. However, most supermarkets still work with production planning on paper. A plan that is already outdated the moment you print it. Time to switch to a digital production plan!
What is a digital production plan?
In short, a digital production plan is a smart activity list on a tablet. All department activities are listed in order of priority. The activities will be approved upon completion or modified. The production numbers are calculated for every production task. The numbers are adjusted during the day based on actual sales.
For each task, a short explanation and detailed instructions are added. You can add article information and, for example, allergens and alternative items. Finally, you appoint KPIs to measure the performance of the department. To be monitored in-store and centrally.
Which activities are planned?
The preparation of a sales day starts the day before with ordering and inventory management. Followed by counting, setting up, and defrosting items for the next day. In the morning, the team is busy filling the received ready-made products and baking the first batches.
During the day, the daily production must be adjusted based on actual sales. The right adjustment determines the performance of the department. Adjusting with a paper production plan is labor-intensive, difficult to control, and often based on gut feeling. As a manager, you want to keep track of the daily production and not just see the results the next day.
What are the advantages of a good digital production plan?
• Better availability:
The information on a paper production plan is out of date the moment you print it. A digital plan adjusts the numbers to be produced during the day. This is done based on actual sales, customer orders, and available inventory of items.
• Reduce loss:
The benefits of availability also apply to shrink. In the case of disappointing sales of certain articles, the planned production batches are adjusted or removed.
• Increase product quality:
The baking order and numbers are adjusted during the day so that you bake close to the sales moment. This offers you maximum freshness. You can also add instructions for all activities. For example about baking, cooling, and cutting. This leads to excellent process execution and increases product quality.
• Improve productivity:
You only bake what is needed. Throwing away less is also less baking and removing less unsold items from the shelf. And adding instructions ensures that new employees are productive faster.
• Grip on the implementation by adding process KPIs:
Digitization also provides more data. In particular about the correct and timely execution of the planned activities. You can actively monitor the availability of critical items and loss. This way, you always have an overview of the performance of each store at any moment in time.
And what about other production departments?
The bakery department will profit most from a digital production plan. Especially because of the short shelf life of the articles and the high demands that customers place on availability and freshness.
A good digital production plan also adds value to your other production departments. A butcher and cheese department, but also for food service. It is therefore important to design and build several general components so that you can also use the device widely.
How can I start?
Various suppliers offer a digital solution, sometimes as part of an ERP system. Developing a digital production plan for the bakery department yourself is often a good alternative.
These are the main success factors:
• The presence of a reliable sales forecast per item
• Elaboration of the ideal final solution, ambition, and global roadmap
• An integrated approach with category teams, replenishment, store operations, finance and IT
• The choice to buy or develop based on the steps above
And of course, it helps if you have someone at the table who has done this before and knows the opportunities and pitfalls. In 2019, I worked on digitizing the baking plan at Albert Heijn. From the idea phase, pilot, further development to roll-out.
Would you also like to digitize the tools at your bakery? And ultimately achieve better results at a lower cost? Please feel free to contact me so that we can discover the opportunities. Time to switch to a digital production plan!
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