Education and universities

Technology placement helps bakery

A graduate placement programme is enabling a Highland bakery to roll out ground-breaking technology to reduce waste and boost profits.

Harry Gow Bakery has employed Andrew Jones, a business and management graduate, through a technology placement programme run by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Andrew graduated from the University of the Highlands and Islands Inverness campus with an honours degree in business management. As process improvement co-ordinator, for the Inverness based business, he is introducing a new cutting edge algorithm software to analyse sales on a level greater than ever before and provide real time product demand predictions.

It is hoped the state of the art approach will reduce waste and help the bakery save tens of thousands of pounds a year.

Andrew Jones said: “Forecasting can be hard in the bakery business due to the variable nature of people’s buying habits.

“Our new system will help streamline our production while reducing waste by monitoring our daily sales data over a 6-week period. There is huge potential here to help both our margins and the environment at the same time.”

HIE runs the technology placement programme as part of its Northern Innovation Hub, which is funded by the UK Government, the European Regional Development Fund and HIE through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. It pairs businesses with talented graduates and students to complete a project that supports business growth.

Andrew added: “Whilst at university I was particularly interested in accounting for sustainability and this role has allowed me to put that passion into practice.”

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

The fifth-generation baker said: “We can not only improve our environmental impact but also our bottom line by maximising our sales. It’s a win win.

“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.

“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 immense benefit to us.”

Lizi Blackwood, Technology Development Manager - Northern Innovation Hub, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “This is about helping businesses to boost productivity and profitability through innovation, technology and fresh ideas from new talent while giving students and graduates experience in the working world.

“This is exactly why we set up the technology placement programme. Andrew’s placement with Harry Gow is a great example of how it’s intended to work and we look forward to hearing more about the impact it has.”

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