Goodman Fielder to close three Australian bakeries

by Eric Schroeder
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NORTH RYDE, AUSTRALIA — Goodman Fielder said it will cut 115 jobs from its Australian baking business as a result of the closing of three bakeries. The moves are part of Project Renaissance, a larger initiative at Goodman Fielder that is geared toward reducing the company’s overall cost base and optimizing manufacturing and supply chain.

Goodman Fielder said it will close its facility at Rockhampton on July 20, its Whiteside bakery in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, and its Cairns facility in the third quarter of fiscal 2013.

Meanwhile, the company’s Townsville bakery will be upgraded to serve customers in the north Queensland region.

“This is a difficult but necessary decision to ensure we can create a more efficient manufacturing footprint in our baking business,” said Pankaj Talwar, managing director for the bakery category at Goodman Fielder. “Optimizing our manufacturing network forms part of our overall strategy to extract scale benefits from consolidating our supply chain to create a more sustainable bakery business. While three bakery facilities will close, we are also investing in our other facilities to ensure we continue to reliably supply our customers with fresh, quality product in these regions.”

With the 115 job cuts in the baking division, Goodman Fielder said it now has eliminated 541 positions this fiscal year.

Goodman Fielder also said it was simplifying its bakery range to improve efficiency, improve on-shelf availability and increase consumer satisfaction.

Plans already have been implemented to reduce the current range of 450 products to about 350, and a further 50 products are expected to be cut. The moves are expected to result in a 33% reduction in unique products by the end of the project.

As part of Project Renaissance, Chris Delaney, chief executive officer of Goodman Fielder, said the priority over the past six months has been on stabilizing the business against the challenges of difficult market conditions.

“The first phase of Project Renaissance was to identify overhead savings, which we have successfully achieved through a new, more efficient operating model in Australia and the integration of our three retail-facing divisions in New Zealand,” he said.

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