Support Bakery Enterprise Development Project

This project got off the ground in 2004.  An opportunity for unemployed and unskilled individuals to become not only skilled bakers, but business owners.  

Pick ‘n Pay provided and managed a small food safe facility to trial this project, to ensure the new companies were viable, self sufficient entities.  We quickly realised the size constraints would stifle the enormous potential that this project offered to both Company members and meeting the Pick ‘n Pay Store demand.  In 2005 we moved to new premises in Isando. We have now made the move from 250 square meters to 4000 square meters and our capacity and Product Range grew, exponentially.  Our new premises were modified and equipped at great expense to Pick ‘n Pay, however the benefit of having a guaranteed supply of unique core range products, with consistent quality, has proven worth while.

Two years later, the twenty seven business owners baking a range of 20 products has quickly grown  to the present 44 business owners baking 76 different products, exclusively for Pick ‘n Pay.  Not only have business owners become skilled but the skills have been transferred to the countless employees employed by the six companies.  We have assisted 48 Support Bakery employees in obtaining a Craft Baking and Flour Confectionary Qualification.  

The Support Bakery concept can be summarised as a small group of individuals who form a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) and are assigned a range of products which become exclusively theirs, to produce for Pick ‘n Pay.  These SME’s effectively become Pick ‘n Pay suppliers and are governed by all of Pick ’n Pay’s product specifications as well as hygiene & food handling rules.  The procurement of ingredients is exclusively through Pick ‘n Pay approved suppliers and the dispatch of product from the facility in Isando is through Pick ‘n Pay’s distribution network.  Every SME is independently managed by it’s Member group with the assistance of an independent accountant. Pick ‘n Pay makes every effort to ensure the success of these businesses with the assignment of a mentor to guide and educate the members with regards to Profit & Loss & Human Resource issues.  Furthermore, we frequently introduce new products and sales promotions to ensure viability and sustainability.  This formulae has proven to be enormously successful.  Many of the original Members have been able to buy their own homes and in some cases have even purchased their own vehicles.

The Homestyle cakes company has reached volumes of iced cakes exceeding 36 000 cakes per month & iced cup cakes exceeding 180 000 units.  The company responsible for the muffin production has exceeded 400 000 units per month.  This brings us to the point where we need to look at mechanisation.  Pick ‘n Pay is willing to now take the next step in making these companies totally independent.   We are willing to facilitate an interest free loan which will allow the companies to purchase all their own equipment and pay it off over a fixed period.  The result will be a Pick ‘n Pay supplier who has all their own equipment, and has the ability to take their companies to new heights.

Due to the fact that this project has been such a success we are now in a position to launch signature lines.  We have launched Lifestyle breads, Continental Cakes, Croissants and Danish made with only the finest ingredients like real butter.  

The success of this project lies in the symbiotic relationship between Pick ‘n Pay and the BEE Initiative of the Support Bakery. The guaranteed sustainability of this project lies in that everyone benefits.  Pick ‘n Pay: through the extension of it’s bakery range.  The BEE
Companies are created and made successful creating new employment, and lastly the fulfilment of one of Pick ‘n Pays four founding principles: Corporate Social Responsibility.

Article originally published in Pick n Pay Talk. 

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