Investment of £60M is 'biggest by any UK bakery'

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: West bromwich, Baker, Glasgow

Investment of £60M is 'biggest by any UK bakery'
Allied Bakeries (AB) is spending £60M on new equipment in what it claims to be "the biggest investment by any UK bakery".

The funds will be used to replace ageing facilities and equipment across its 11 production sites, as part of its five-year business transformation programme.

The upgrade so far has included the installation of new bread lines at the firm's Stevenage and Glasgow bakeries. In addition, a new automated roll plant with the latest operational control systems bulk handling, dispatch and infrastructure, has been installed at West Bromwich.

The West Bromwich site is benefitting from a spend of £25M the "lion's share of what we have been doing"​, according to the company's group operations director, Nick Law.

AB claims a 36% market share of the UK bread and bakery market and is the number two supplier of branded wrapped and sliced bread after Warburtons,

"At the new bread plant we have installed at the Glasgow site, we think we have got an extra day's shelf-life because of the better standards that we have now achieved," ​said Law.

A further project is planned that will look at upgrading three bread lines at West Bromwich in about 18 months. "I would expect the roll plant that we are putting in to be delivering 90% overall equipment effectiveness," ​said Law. "We aim for a downtime of 23%."

While the Glasgow bakery which also had a bulk handling upgrade is basically finished, further unspecified plans are in hand to improve the Stevenage site. In addition, two or three other sites are set to receive further investment, although Law wouldn't divulge details, as the capital had not yet been signed off by the company's Board.

The transformation programme began in 2007, with investment commencing in 2009. It is expected to be completed in 2013.

Prior to the investment, AB carried out an audit of facilities across the company's estate, in conjunction with the American Institute of Baking. The object of this was to see if the firm was 'fit for purpose' to deliver the food quality, health and safety standards and cost of maintenance expected over the next 20 to 30 years.

"When we did a review it was quite clear that we needed to transform our operation,"​ said Law.

"With the central engineering team we looked at how you design the most modern, reliable baking kit that the industry has. And they have done an absolutely fantastic job in challenging the standards in the baking industry."

Related topics: Bakery

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