Hi, my name’s Dionne Dunne from our food store in West Didsbury, and I look after all things ISB (in store bakery).

We’ve always used the manual production pad for our ISB to help us work out what to bake each day. But there was a lot of guess work involved and it took ages to fill out; you had to record what the weather was like every day, check what you sold the week before, and sift through lots of stuff to get to things like oven settings and information about shelf life.

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Safe to say, it didn’t fill us with confidence in whether we were baking enough of what our customers wanted to buy, or if we’d be wasting most of it at the end of the day!

Keeping it simple

Since October, we’ve been trialling a new automated pad which is emailed to us every day. It tells us what to bake in the morning, and then the afternoon, along with the time to bake everything. And it gives us all the oven settings in one place, so if you were training anybody, or if someone only knew the very basics of bakery, they could pick it up and bake everything themselves.

It’s the next thing the rest of our stores will start to use to make our ISBs easier to run, improve availability for customers and reduce waste. We’ve also just simplified our reduce to clear process and have stopped stickering our packaged bakery lines, which has saved us loads of time. Sometimes it could be up to an hour just to put an extra two stickers on the products; telling you what the flavour is, whether it’s a speciality bread or a normal bread, so it really helps, especially on days when there’s a delivery – you’re busy enough!

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At first I didn’t think the new pad was going to work – it was telling me to bake less or more of some things than I normally would. But we’ve trusted what it’s been telling us and have given it a good go. Our sales have gone up since we started using it. We’ve always been pretty good at keeping our waste low, but we’ve managed to reduce it even more. I’m sure other stores will notice a big difference when they start using it soon.

Dionne Dunne, Baker, Burton Road Co-op

Matt Kemp, Leading the Way Work Stream Lead, added: “It’s great to hear Dionne’s found the new pad to be a big improvement. Our colleagues have told us how simple and easy it is to use. It’s based on sales from the past two years, and factors in things like the weather and seasonal impacts to predict what our stores will sell throughout the day. It’s clever stuff, and we think the rest of our ISB stores will love it when they start receiving it every day from 9 May.”