südback Talks Bakery 4.0

Industry 4.0 has well and truly arrived in the baking industry; however, there’s still room for improvement in the skilled trade sector.

According to the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, a third of production is fully networked, a third partially networked and a third not yet networked in mid-sized companies. It is hindered, at times, by adverse circumstances that obstruct the digitalization of operational workflows.

Admittedly urban areas benefit from a stable high-performance wireless network that permits uninterrupted communication online. By contrast, there are still a number of “white spots” in rural areas when it comes to network coverage, so that companies with branches far apart (still) cannot meaningfully make use of the benefits of modern technologies.

südback 2019 is proof that skilled food trade is open to digitalization, organizers anticipate. Exhibitors will be showcasing interesting digital solutions in all relevant application areas – for large companies as well as for small and mid-sized bakeries and confectioneries. Almost all areas of work in bakeries can be automated and networked, from recipes to refrigeration control and the baking process itself. In sales, by way of example, quantities can be controlled in line with demand resulting in rates of return falling in the long term, or special offers can be adapted by an internet connection from head office, even several times a day.

Reducing the Workload

Digitalization makes sense when it reduces a high workload, which has been carried out to date in analog form. Hygiene management is a classic example of this. A large number of lists to be managed, documentation showing progress and results, initial and refresher training – all this can now be produced, dealt with and managed in an app. A solution performing these tasks was developed by Munich-based Renosan Chemie & Technik GmbH.The cloud-based application was developed specifically for bakeries and confectioneries and enables analog processes to be digitally transformed.

This app won the developers, the südback Trend Award 2019. Renosan’s CEO Florian Schmid described the long-term value of digitalization: “Businesses stand to benefit, which can gain tangible benefits from technologies without making the business more complex.”

Under this premise, online services are also being used more widely in other areas of business, for instance in oven design and with refrigeration systems. Wired remote maintenance is already standard in many cases. Reading operating and consumption data in real-time now enables bakery companies to obtain more precise analysis, for instance on energy efficiency, control, maintenance or troubleshooting, the import of software updates and even the networking of ovens – all this will become every day in the Bakery 4.0.

Overall, many südback exhibitors have considered comprehensive data analysis by linking different applications. The three IT specialists CompData, KMZ and OptimoBercher will be showcasing in a joint competence forum how data from cash desks, branches, merchandise management, time management, personnel management, and accounting can be analyzed to recommend actions derived from this. They are convinced that the age of digital island solutions is now very much in the past. CompData CEO Reiner Veit, spokesperson for the Competence Forum, explains: “There is a rising demand for mobile applications which make everyday working easier.”

Martin Reinhardt, State Guild Master of the Wuerttemberg Bakery Trade, südback partner, has been witnessing a positive trend towards digitalization in the bakery trade for some years now. Interest in the industry was rising constantly. He has not yet identified a correlation to the size of the business. “Colleagues accept state-of-the-art technology at the very latest when new investment is called for in the bakery, in sales or in the office,” explains Reinhardt.

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