Bakery profits on rise after skills training

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bakery skills bonus: Susan Gravill, John Emes, md, Adrian Barnard, bakery manager, and Sharon Callaghan sales manager
Bakery skills bonus: Susan Gravill, John Emes, md, Adrian Barnard, bakery manager, and Sharon Callaghan sales manager

Related tags: Management, Baker

A Yorkshire bakery has boosted profits by lifting output, cutting waste and improving communication between teams, after implementing a skills training programme.

The Sheffield-based Brook Bakery, led by brother and sister team Sue Gravill and John Emes, used the government-backed workforce development training to underpin its expansion plans.

Brook Bakery director Sue Gravill said: “Since completing the programme, we’ve seen significant reductions in waste and increased productivity, as a direct result of better communication. This has meant we’ve been able to invest in future business growth.”

Despite significant growth in recent years, Gravill and Emes recognised the need to strengthen links between the company’s different divisions to maintain the close-knit family feel within the business.

Wholesale bread and confectionery

The Wincobank-based Bakery has opened a number of new shops throughout Sheffield and relocated the business to a 2,044m2​ bespoke bakery, where the company produces wholesale bread and confectionery alongside its retail business.

As staff numbers increased to 52, Gravill and Emes, md, decided to use Skills Made Easy training to boost communication, in order to unlock productivity and waste gains.

More than 40 employees took part in the four-month programme, which saw bakers, shop managers, delivery drivers, pickers, office staff and company directors come together to examine specific challenges facing the business. Top priority was to help the different divisions communicate effectively.

“As the business has grown, we recognised many of the systems and processes we relied upon for years were no longer fit for purpose​,” said Gravill. “We approached Skills Made Easy to see if they could offer any guidance in helping to improve the way in which our business operates as we realised that this was impacting upon the performance of the company.”

Growth pains

“As the business has grown, we recognised many of the systems and processes we relied upon for years were no longer fit for purpose.​”

  • Sue Gravill

National Vocational Qualifications

Skills Made Easy helped the bakery secure funding for training, which resulted in the staff completing National Vocational Qualifications.

“As part of the training, we saw bakers spend time in the shops, retail managers help out on the delivery lines and even senior members of staff returning to the production lines. The process helped to create a much greater understanding of how the business operates. But, equally importantly, many of the changes we’ve implemented in the business are as a direct result of suggestions made by members of staff.”

Skills Made Easy programme manager Laura Hayfield said the training programmes were designed to help companies in the Sheffield area to flourish. “We recognise that every business faces unique challenges,”​ said Hayfield. “There are no strings, and no costs to the employer and the free services we provide help companies to not only increase productivity, but also lay down the foundations for future growth.”

The skills programme​ is available to all small and medium-sized businesses in the Sheffield area.

Meanwhile, has your latest training programme also paid off big time? Then why not enter the Training Programme of the Year category of the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards? Entry is free and straightforward​.

Who knows, it could be the first step on your path to picking up a food and drink manufacturing Oscar, at a glittering awards ceremony at the Lancaster Hotel, London on Tuesday November 3. Good luck! 

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