Before the holiday rush hits in full stride, bakeries should take a little time to focus on proper maintenance and sanitation. Here’s a couple of Pro Tips, or tops from production professionals, for preplanning for the traditional surge for baked goods at the end of the year.

“Be sure maintenance personnel are taking full advantage of servicing the line while it is still down to get a jump start on the repairs,” noted Bret Zaher, manager, operations for Americas, AIB International. “Afterward, ensure that sanitation gets a good deep cleaning on these lines prior to startup. Additionally, take advantage of any changeover times to get as much cleaning and preventative maintenance done as possible.”

During slower production periods, Mr. Zaher recommended providing a little TLC to those systems that sometimes may get ignored when production is operating at full throttle.

“Several sites have conveyors, labelers and other portable equipment that can be quickly switched out with ones that have been serviced and cleaned to help during these extended runs,” Mr. Zaher told Baking & Snack recently. “Other sites have installed ‘switch track’ transfer conveyors for the proofing and cooling systems so product can be run on an idle line and free up time for preventative maintenance and sanitation.”

In larger facilities, he added, transferring production to an idle line also expands cleaning and maintenance schedules and can buy the plant some time to clean and service the larger systems to reduce downtime. According to the pros, paying attention to details today will allow bakers to meet consumers’ needs for what is sure to be a busy holiday season.