Allied Bakeries is one of two divisions of Allied Milling and Baking, and along with Allied Mills they employ around 4000 people in total.
They produce the top 10 UK grocery brand Kingsmill, as well as Burgen, Allinson and Sunblest bread brands, and work closely with Allied Mills, who mill the flour needed to bake their products. Together they make up Allied Milling & Baking, which in turn is a part of Associated British Foods (ABF) plc. ABF is a major international business with a turnover of £15.4bn and over 130,000 employees working in 50 countries.
Relationships with suppliers and customers are strong, thanks to an ability to provide relevant information quickly and confidently
The adaptability of Recipes & Specifications means Allied Bakeries can confidently approach the evolving information requirements of the food industry
The intuitive interface means pain-free compliance – everyone uses the same system, and can do so without difficulties.
A reliable and easily located single source of information for all SKUs and raw materials means faster and more accurate workflows and approvals.
Stretching back 15 years, the relationship between Allied Bakeries and FoodChain ID is going from strength to strength. What initially started as a cautious approach to a new software has become a way of life for Allied Bakeries.
The impetus for using the Recipes & Specifications was very pragmatic; “we simply wanted to better manage the flow of ingredient information through to the final product specification”, said Gillian Elward, Head of Technical Assurance at Allied Technical Centre. The Allied Bakeries team use the software to store their raw material database, from which the key characteristics of each raw material are drawn up into the recipe module, ready for use in NPD development. “We use the software in a very traditional manner, and this works well for us”, says Gillian. “We work with the NPD team to build and manipulate recipes that meet the theoretical requirements of the NPD team. For instance, the nutrition parameters, QUID count and allergen profile. This means we can meet nutrition targets at the earliest stage of recipe development, and allows us to use these recipes for the final product specification”.
But it’s clear that Allied Bakeries have seized the practicality of the software to do much more than simplify their recipe management process.
Over time Allied Bakeries have used Recipes & Specifications to host a lot more information, and are increasingly using it to store live information for their production sites. “We use the Recipes & Specifications in several ways to make sure we, in the centre and those at our production sites, can easily respond to questions from our customers and other external bodies” says Gillian.
The reporting functionality allows the team to view up to date information from their raw material and approved supplier databases, meaning they are never more than a few clicks away from reliably accurate information. Allied Bakeries make additional use of the ready availability of this data; managing allergen risk assessments using the approved recipes within Recipes & Specifications. This makes life easier for the whole team – the single source of information is reliable and easily accessible.
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Recipes & Specifications has delivered an incredible level of transparency which makes life a great deal easier for Gillian and her team. “We use it to pull up whatever information we need,” she says, “it’s so easy to design listings and reports to suit a specific need.” Whether it’s answering a customer query or responding to an internal question, the team simply create a report which extracts the necessary information with very little effort.
Gillian talks enthusiastically about the benefits of the system; it’s improved her team’s ability to respond to customers and suppliers. “It really does help our relationships” she says. “Not only in terms of providing the right information, but also in giving reassurance we can do so quickly.”
As a key tool in Allied Bakeries’ operation, it’s no surprise to learn that a broad cross-section of the business uses the software. The technical team updates the system, which is then viewed by all technical managers operating the sites.
It’s clear that ease of use goes a long way in making Recipes & Specifications the success it is for Allied Bakeries. Used by every site and to every production line, it’s proven itself as being simple to use and easy to view. “We have people who only view it occasionally, so it needs to be simple, and it is; it’s very intuitive”, explains Gillian.
It’s reassuring for Gillian and her team to know that support from FoodChain ID is always forthcoming, especially as there are so many people using the system. “We have a largely remote relationship with FoodChain ID; they are fantastic at responding quickly and appropriately when we need their support”.
And assistance isn’t limited to helpdesk support; on the occasions when Allied Bakeries have needed additional functionality, they have worked with our support team in onsite workshops to configure the system to their needs.
Looking to the future, Gillian feels reassured that Recipes & Specifications places Allied Bakeries in an excellent position; “no matter how requirements change or increase, we’re comfortable extending our existing templates to contain new information”. It’s satisfying for Allied Bakeries to know they’re able to react in an instant if there’s a sudden need to supply new data. “If we suddenly need to include information about something three steps down the supply chain, or need a certificate number to prove the status of something, we’re able to do so with minimal fuss and disruption. We just build a new field, populate it and we’re compliant. We’re not shifting paper; we’re just going to one place to get that information. What could be easier?”