Machines help homegrown bakery to expand production and cut wastage

The director of six-year-old local bakery Bake Mission used to have to hire some 20 part-timers during the peak Mooncake Festival season and turn down last-minute orders for mooncakes.

But Madam Shermaine Teo said that productivity improved significantly after she automated more parts of the baking and packing processes last year. Wastage fell from around 4 per cent to nearly zero, she added.

"We had one last-minute order for 3,500 boxes, and they only wanted it if we could deliver within a day. We managed to do it," she said. Bake Mission also did not have to recruit part-timers to cope with the big order.

The bakery, which employs just over 10 workers, supplies products like mooncakes, biscuits and other goodies to customers ranging from hotels, supermarkets to attractions.

One of the two machines added to the bakery is used to arrange items on baking trays and the other individually packs baked goods. The cost of more than $100,000 for them was partially funded through the Employment and Employability Institute's (e2i) Inclusive Growth Programme.

The bakery's workers were given a $300 incentive to learn how to use the machines.

Although Madam Tan Seok Bee, 49, does not operate the packing machine, she said it makes her job of packaging products less hectic.

"In the past, we needed two people to put the food into bags, and one person to seal them. Now the machine does it for us much faster."