Bakers Basco, the membership scheme set up by five of the UK’s leading plant bakers to provide and manage an industry wide bakery equipment solution, has reported a 230% increase in the number of Omega bread baskets recovered since the 2019/20 financial year – owing to more streamlined and strategic operations across the business.
Before the pandemic (in the 2019/20 financial year), Bakers Basco recovered 58,267 Omega trays. By the end of the 2020/21 financial year, those figures had risen 100% to 116,703, and have since grown a further 64% to reach 191,667 by the end of the 2021/22 financial year.
Paul Empson, general manager at Bakers Basco explains that the massive jump in recoveries reflects how the business has become more streamlined and strategic in how it runs investigations to recover equipment that ends up outside the bakery supply chain.
“We’ve vastly expanded our operation into new markets, over the last year in particular, turning our focus to educating perpetrators across a range of different industries who may or may not know what they are doing is wrong,” he says. “I do believe that we owe this massive growth in recoveries to better education and taking a more measured approach to how we run the national investigations team – and the figures show that all the hard work is paying off as we’re now able to recover more equipment than ever before.
Over the past few years, Bakers Basco has significantly stepped up its investment in technology by introducing GPS tracking devices across its bakery equipment pool to track and monitor the daily movements of its equipment more closely. This, along with a public awareness campaign to encourage the general public and specific industries to report any instances of misuse or abuse, is proving that these efforts are working.
But rather than relying solely on its GPS tracking technology to identify locations of interest, Bakers Basco’s national investigations team has been able to investigate more deeply into bakery equipment that goes missing to understand the chain of events leading to it ending up in the wrong place. Rather than just collecting the equipment, the team have turned their focus to digging into the detail more deeply to understand where it is originating from.
“These baskets are being taken out of the bakery supply chain and going into another supply chain, who are abusing this equipment,” adds Empson. “Of course, we’ll look at the abuser who has our equipment and recover it. But the team are now asking more questions: how have they got it? Where did they get it from? Who’s supplying them? That way we can look more deeply into this issue to find more equipment and work to stamp out any illegal supply chains who are causing such a negative impact to the bakery industry and the environment.”
Bakers Basco equipment is designed for the sole purpose of transporting bread. Sometimes it can be delayed and held up at supermarkets and other times it’s because it has been taken unlawfully and used by companies without permission, both of which cause massive disruption to the supply chain and the day-to-day running of operations.