Company Background

Harry Gow Bakery was founded in 1979 with skills and expertise that span across five generations. Based in Inverness, with award-winning products and always baked from scratch with the finest ingredients.

Challenges

To run a bakery of this size, it’s essential that Harry Gow Bakery successfully coordinates many elements, from the complexities of producing a large product line, to maintaining quality, system efficiencies, staffing and finance requirements. Tackling waste management requires a singular focus; in an operation that gets through almost 17,000 eggs a week and makes over 10,000 rolls a day, never mind the rest of its product line, waste reduction becomes a vital business issue - a project in its own right.  Thanks to HIE’s Technology Placement Programme, the bakery saw an opportunity to hire a specialist employee who could focus on creating a system for monitoring, assessing and controlling waste, with the aim of reducing its 3 tonnes per week accumulation.

Director, Fraser Gow, understood the need for a change in the way the company tracked and analysed its sales data and the impact it could have to the company’s future success: 

Even if we only save 1% of turnover on ingredients that’s tens of thousands of pounds that’ll go straight to the bottom line.

HIE Support

Fraser tapped into Northern Innovation Hub’s Technology Placement Programme to recruit a graduate whose sole focus was to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, which in turn would benefit not only the company’s bottom line but also the environment.

Through the programme Harry Gow Bakery employed Andrew Jones, a business and management graduate from the University of the Highlands and Islands, as a process improvement coordinator.

Harry Gow used NIH Technology Placement Programme to address an issue within its business. Via the programme, Harry Gow were able to access high-performing graduates and students who can apply the latest technology to specific projects raising productivity, performance, and increase competitive status. The programme also offers a cost-effective way of accessing technological experts with a 50% salary contribution available for student and graduate placements.

"By introducing new sales-based ordering software we can not only improve our environmental impact but also our bottom line by minimising waste and maximising sales. It was a win-win."

Andrew brings with him a wealth of knowledge, having worked in manufacturing for over 20 years.

In his role Andrew is responsible for the introduction of the new cutting-edge algorithm software, which has been used by the likes of Marks & Spencer, to analyse sales on a level greater than ever before, providing real-time product demand predictions.

Andrew said:

“Forecasting can be hard in the bakery business due to the variable nature of people’s buying habits. Whilst at university I was particularly interested in accounting for sustainability and this role has allowed me to put that passion into practice.
“Our new system will help streamline production while reducing waste by monitoring our daily sales data over a six-week period.”

Fraser believes the software represents an exciting opportunity to help the bakery’s impact on the environment:

“The full potential of the technology is unknown, but the savings are potentially huge.
“Andrew’s experience from his years of working in the manufacturing industry and his university learnings have been of great benefit to us.” 
Having access to funding via HIE’s Technology Placement Programme reduced the risk involved in hiring for the business, and helped us tap into a high calibre of candidates. This process has also helped us drive projects forward that we were struggling to gain traction on due to time constraints and workloads. - Fraser Gow

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