Bakers Basco reports a drop in bakery equipment attrition rates

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Bakers Basco was set up to manage an industry-standard bread basket for the bakery industry. Pic: Bakers Basco
Bakers Basco was set up to manage an industry-standard bread basket for the bakery industry. Pic: Bakers Basco

Related tags bakery equipment

Omega bread baskets and dolly equipment play a vital role in the supply chain to ensure the continuous daily supply of bread and associated products from bakeries to supermarket shop floors across the UK. Yet they’re often taken unlawfully and used by companies without permission.

Despite fluctuations over the past decade – exceptional events like the pandemic and driver shortages played a part in impacting equipment losses – Bakers Basco said the combined attrition rates for all its equipment has improved by 7.01% versus the same period in 2020-21.

Why is that important?

While equipment like a large dough mixer, an emulsion blender and countertop mixers are essential in any bakery, Omega bread baskets and dolly equipment are indispensable to get the daily bread out to the nation. Bread basket conversion – through theft or misplaced equipment – is an issue that has plagued bakers for many years, with typical losses in excess of 60%.

In 2006, five of the UK’s leading plant bakers – Allied Bakeries, Fine Lady Bakeries, Frank Roberts & Sons, Hovis and Warburtons – eventually had enough and collectively set up a membership scheme to manage an industry-wide bakery equipment solution.

Since then, Bakers Basco has played a significant role in driving efficiencies of basket management across the industry. Today, the company manages an equipment pool of around four million reusable Omega Baskets and 500,000 heavy-duty wheeled dollies, which are rented out to bakers for the transportation of their goods.

The company’s original mission was to design, source and manage an industry-standard bread basket for the bakery industry, allowing for significant cost savings in terms of the design, raw material procurement and production of both the basket and dolly.

It was also to be part of the circular economy​ and each piece of the sturdy kit has the potential to be recycled around 400 times and the resulting raw plastic used to make more baskets.

But sadly, the equipment is often taken unlawfully and used by companies without permission, which cause massive disruption to the supply chain and the day-to-day running of operations.

To track down and reclaim any missing equipment that gets diverted out of the supply chain, Bakers Basco has introduced various initiatives including glitter additives, GPS tracking technology and a national awareness poster campaign ​that helped to highlight the issues and delays in return of equipment.

Bakers Basco poster

Its national investigations team has also stepped up its efforts​ to locate misappropriated equipment and uses negotiation, education, collection and where necessary, legal enforcement to reclaim the  assets and recover financial losses. Thanks to an increased focus on data and regular reporting, the teams has also been able to see much more clearly any store backlogs and blockages within the existing supply chain and conduct additional site stock counts.

And it’s working.

Lowest levels in four years

According to Bakers Basco, attrition rates on bread baskets has fallen by 4.34%, while dolly equipment has seen a 6.63% drop over the past year to reach their lowest levels in four years.

Attrition rates for the period 2023-24 stand at -8.77% and -6.51% for baskets and dollies, respectively.

“The whole collection process we operate today is more connected than ever before,” said general manager Paul Empson.

“By taking a more measured approach to how we run the day-to-day business operations and with a particular focus on data and technology to support our efforts through stronger auditing and operational controls, it’s having a positive impact on bakery equipment attrition rates, while driving a more efficient and sustainable supply chain.”

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