Pro Tip: Plan third-party support in advance to avoid maintenance and sanitation delays.

Since the arrival of COVID-19, most bakeries seem to be down for maintenance and sanitation on weekends only. Some plants are even running two weeks straight. This creates a new challenge for maintenance, sanitation and service providers.

Almost every bakery is on the hunt for talented individuals, especially those with maintenance skills. Further complicating the situation is employers having to tell perspective new hires the job requires them to start on night shift and work weekends.

This is a similar challenge for service providers, as they will need to travel extensively and often work weekends since that’s when the lines are typically down these days.

Just a few years ago, service providers, plant maintenance and sanitation departments had the luxury of a Monday to Tuesday and a Friday to Saturday down day window.

Today's production schedule has cut the maintenance window in half, which has also impacted those of us who support these bakeries with onsite services.

This reduction in availability can only be overcome by hiring more talent, which is already in short supply.

I’ve found that my team members went from working four to six days a week to an average of two to four days per week. This can negatively impact those paid by the hour but can be somewhat of a bonus for salaried employees. The reverse can be said for the employer, as they now see fewer invoices per week per associate.

I believe bakeries and those supplying them with services must get out in front of these changes, or they may soon find the impact to the bottom line has affected them more than necessary.

While this latest work schedule helps with production scheduling, it has created resource constraints and can have adverse effects on profitability for both parties.

Don’t be surprised, after the dust settles and the impacts are understood, if pricing gets adjusted accordingly.

My advice? Plan your third-party support opportunities out at least three to six months in advance and longer, if possible. This way, you get your needs on their calendar before your competitor beats you to it.

Rowdy Brixey is founder and president of Brixey Engineering Inc.

You can connect with him at LinkedIn.