Industry story: Bread & Biscuits
The bread & biscuit industry is a competitive sector, dealing with fresh natural products that are subject to the highest quality controls. This leads to specific process requirements.
To meet their growth and innovation goals, small and medium-sized companies in today’s business world require a platform that accelerates their business processes and simplifies decision-making. In the bread and biscuits industry, this need is complicated by the challenges that come with the unique characteristics of traceability and rework, time to market, labeling, seasonality & product process planning.
Traceability and rework (biscuits)
Although traceability is relevant to all food producing companies, within the biscuits-sector a specific process occurs when the product is “punched” out of dough.
The reaming dough (rework) is back feeded and will be reused. During continuous processing this dough will be mixed with a new batch of dough. This process will continue all day long. A biscuit can therefore contain dough from multiple dough-batches.
A second challenge can be the traceability of raw materials kept in silo’s. A difference can be made between liquids and solids kept in a silo. For solids special mathematical functions may apply depending on the type of solid, shape of the silo and method of loading the silo. For liquids a more general approach can be applied in most cases, assuming that multiple batches in one silo will mix. In those circumstances backflusing can be done pro rata the remaining quantities, with a threshold quantity to make sure a batch is consumed completely.
Time to market
When fresh bread is being produced the time to market is very short. In order to be able to timely produce the right quantities, production will need to start prior to the receipt of all sales orders. On the other hand production in advance based on forecast is not an option due to the required freshness.
For these companies production is started based on forecast quantities, available sales orders whilst at some “cut-off” point in the evening when exact production quantities are known, production planning should be updated, to make sure exact quantities are made right in time.
Some products are only bought during a specific time of the year, most often related to festivities like chrismas, easter, motherday or a sports event. Consumption in these period is too high to be able to produce on order. For these product groups it is important to have an accurate forecast by sales and alignment with operation. Forecast can be proposed upon historic data, good sold to the customer, but should also take into account special circumstances like “non”-sales, inventory did not meet demand, and “pushed” -sales, excess of inventory is sold due to upcoming expiry date.
Production process planning
For bread and biscuits making a production planning can be more complex than in other sectors due to challenges in the production process in combination with product characteristics. Complex production with multiple lines, a flexible “line setup” and different speed of machines depending of the product, and therefore different bottlenecks, are common within the biscuit industry. Product characteristics like presence of allergens, use of chocolate and other “coatings” or “sprinklings”, should be taken into account as well to optimize change overs and health risks.
Labelling – specification
When dealing with the setup of specifications and ingredient declaration for product labels two “physics” processes need to be taken into account; reaction and evaporation.
- Reaction: when yeast and sugars are used in the dough making process, the sugar will, for some part, be consumed be the yeast. The sugar, and its nutritional values, added as raw material should not be included for the full 100% when calculation the nutritional values for the end product.
- Evaporation: during resting and baking water fill evaporate. Total weight of the end product will be lower than total weight of used raw materials. Percentages can be calculated based on the wet-on-wet, or dry-on-wet quantities.