In this exclusive interview, Puratos chief marketing officer discussed the future of digital technology in the world of bakery production and the role its start-up incubator, Sparkalis plays in empowering start-ups to embrace these new innovations.
“Digital, artificial intelligence, data and – in some cases – block chain are definitely the way forward,” Blum explained. “It’s not a case of should we or should we not, it’s more about how and what level we need in order to accelerate and transform to continue to serve consumers and customers.
“The boundaries have blurred between customers and consumers and it’s true that our own customers – the professionals baking or making chocolate – themselves need to always anticipate [the latest trends] to stay at the forefront [of innovation]. There is no other way than digital.”
With customers and consumers both requiring shorter lead times and next day delivery on products, the bakery industry needs to integrate the changes in habit in order to provide a service up to spec. Recently this has meant offering an online service accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Being able to offer a constantly available service also requires a business to have instant access to all the data coming in and out of the bakery, a key component of many industry 4.0 systems that require the internet of things to share everything from conveyor belt speeds, to the heat of the ovens or the ambient temperature of the warehouse.
Real time evolution
“You see it everywhere – this week at a trade show and everywhere it was about how you use digital to have access to data to be able to empower your teams to be more productive in the positive sense, in line with trends and the real time evolution,” Blum continued.
“There are a lot of challenges that go along with this opportunity, because not everything is structured to have the fluidity of transition, but it is certainly the way forward.”
Meanwhile, Potato producer Fylde Fresh and Fabulous, chocolate manufacturer Ye Olde Friars and cake and pudding maker Classic Desserts are among the latest businesses to sign up to the north west Made Smarter Adoption programme.