marks and spencer bakery

Marks & Spencer is rolling out a predictive ordering system for its in-store bakeries to increase revenue and reduce waste.

The Cybake InStore cloud system from RedBlack Software will be used in all of its 534 in-store bakeries in the UK.

The software works by telling bakery staff the best combination of products to bake at the right times of day to maximise sales and minimise waste.

Lance Bennett, senior IT project manager, said it had tested the software in five stores and then 28 further ones before it began the rollout.

“We have seen benefits in product availability and waste levels equal to or exceeding our business case across most stores and are now in the process of extending the solution to all of our in-store bakeries,” Bennett said.

M&S chose to deliver the software through ‘ruggedised’ PDAs (personal digital assistants) as the best devices for staff to use.

“InStore is easy to use for our bakers on the PDAs,” said Cathy Paine, an M&S bakery specialist managing the rollout in South London stores. “After a very small amount of time, even the less tech-savvy bakers were fully up to speed and using the solution without issues.”

Cybake InStore is part of RedBlack Software’s Cybake suite of bakery management solutions. Bakeries and confectioners use it to control production and link back offices to shop floors, stores and deliveries.

“M&S has a clear strategy to make the very best use of its big data sets,” commented Jane Tyler, managing director of RedBlack Software. “Cybake InStore is a perfect example of an application that exploits this data to produce tangible benefits pretty much straight away.”

Tyler, an executive committee member of the British Society of Baking, said RedBlack originally developed sales-based planning and ordering for larger bakery chains.

“Since we launched Cybake InStore as a standalone cloud application at April’s Foodex, it has sparked some heavyweight interest. I believe that’s partly because it applies to both in-store bakers that bake from scratch and to those that bake from frozen.

“By guiding in-store bakeries through the day’s peaks and troughs in demand it means, for example, that staff don’t bake too much in the morning wave, so products are fresher throughout the day.”