The wholesale baking industry is responding to the current labor crunch in a myriad of ways: increased wages, hiring bonuses and even considering flexible scheduling where they can. However, more and more baking companies are investing in technology to fill the gap. That’s because automating the production process not only helps reduce baking companies’ reliance on labor, but it also adds capacity and consistency to processes and products.

This was supported by Baking & Snack’s Automating Out of the Baking Industry Labor Challenge study, conducted by Cypress Research.

“This is the first study of its kind to draw a straight line between detailed company technology advances and intensifying labor pressures,” said Marjorie Hellmer, President of Cypress Research.

The study, fielded in October 2021, asked bakery manufactures to rank their goals when leveraging automation investments to reduce workforce challenges. Most respondents prioritized consistency (90%), capacity (86%) and eliminating repetitive manual labor (85%). However, human labor came up multiple times throughout responses including more efficient automated process (82%), reducing product loss due to human error (81%) and reducing safety risk due to human error (80%). 

According to Ms. Hellmer, “the study also outlines how baking companies of different sizes are approaching automation investment differently. While many larger companies have already implemented high degrees of automation, leaders reported plans to upgrade technology at various phases of the manufacturing process. Smaller to mid-sized baking companies are considering a first-time leap to automation across manufacturing stages.”

The full findings will be presented and analyzed in the Automating Out of the Labor Challenge webinar, sponsored by AMF Bakery Systems and Reading Bakery Systems.

During the webinar, Marjorie Hellmer, president of Cypress Research, will detail the study’s findings. Rowdy Brixey, president of Brixey Engineering and Baking & Snack Pro Tip columnist, and Ken Newsome, chief executive officer of Markel Food Group, will provide insightful analysis of the data from their experiences as a maintenance and engineering professional and a long-time supplier of automated solutions, respectively.

To learn more about what technologies baking companies are investing in to reduce labor and see where opportunities may lie for further automation, register for the Automating Out of the Labor Challenge webinar here.