Bakers Basco upgrades to next-gen GPS tech to track bakery equipment

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bakers Basco currently manages an equipment pool of around four million reusable baskets and 500,000 dollies, which each can potentially be recycled 400 times. Pic: Bakers Basco
Bakers Basco currently manages an equipment pool of around four million reusable baskets and 500,000 dollies, which each can potentially be recycled 400 times. Pic: Bakers Basco

Related tags: Bakers basco, bakery equipment, Allied bakeries, Warburtons, Hovis, Roberts & Sons, Fine Lady Bakeries, LightBug, GPS

The membership scheme by five of the UK’s largest plant bakers to manage an industry-wide bakery equipment solution has upgraded its alarm system from LightBug with 4G connectivity, Blutetooth and ring alerts.

Bakers Basco was set up in 2006 by Allied Bakeries, Fine Lady Bakeries, Frank Roberts & Sons, Hovis and Warburtons – which, together, represent more than 55% of the bakery market in the UK – to buy, manage and police the use of a standard basket for the delivery of bread to retailers and wholesalers.

The scheme first adopted LightBug’s GPS tracking technology in 2015 by introducing trackers into bread baskets and dollies to keep track of their whereabouts. The tech has subsequently undergone a number of upgrades, with the latest enhancements including 4G connectivity, Bluetooth and improved signal range, and ring alerts.

The 4G connectivity gives signals an additional boost, particularly those at locations where they might have struggled to get a connection in the past; while Bluetooth has been added to assist Bakers Basco’s investigations team to identify equipment from a much broader distance in and around a particular location.

The tech now also features a mobile app that triggers a ring alert when an item of Bakers Basco equipment is found concealed at any given location.

Instrumental in tracking kit

The use of these trackers has significantly reduced losses and improved recovery levels, particularly as equipment is often diverted out of the supply chain by third parties without permission. Evidence gathered through the use of GPS-equipped products has been instrumental in securing judgement in Bakers Basco’s favour in a number of court cases.

“Technology is always advancing and we must advance with it,”​ said Paul Empson, general manager of Bakers Basco.

“We’re always looking for better ways to locate equipment that ends up in the wrong place, so having this ability to improve connectivity and get real-time alerts to any missing equipment on location will make the difficult work of our national investigations team that much easier and more time efficient.”

The long-term partnership between the two has enabled LightBug to develop bespoke solutions for Bakers Basco’s Omega baskets. The scheme currently manages an equipment pool of approximately four million reusable baskets and 500,000 dollies, which are part of the circular economy, meaning each piece of kit can be potentially recycled 400 times before it reaches the end of its useful life.

“The Basco use case proved extremely challenging from the outset due to the range of places baskets end up and minimal space available,”​ said Lightbug’s Chris Guest.

“Thanks to constant real-world feedback from the Bakers Basco team, we've been able to develop a product that covers operations in all environments and really pushes the current boundaries of technology. We're excited to see how the new features and extended reliability enhance operations.”

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