In retail baking, forecasting is key. You need to forecast your orders for your stores; maybe you have to do the same for wholesale customers, and now you have to forecast your online orders too.

“Potentially, these are harder to predict, but, either way, you definitely need to take these into consideration when you are planning your production and when you are buying your materials,” explains Séamus Quinn, communications manager, Cybake bakery software.

So, what tools have you got to pull together your sales from your POS system in your stores to give you an overall prediction of what you need to make?

How do you capture your online orders efficiently? Now that online sales are becoming a bigger part of your business, how do you incorporate them into your planning?

“Historically, your online orders may have been negligible. If somebody ordered a couple of boxes of brownies, you could squeeze them in. But, proportionally, as online sales grow, the need to predict them becomes more important,” Quinn explains.

Online purchasing tools and trends

Cybake is an online system that supports your purchasing process. A large ingredients supplier typically has an online portal that you can go onto and enter in your requirements.

The downside is that, while it is all very convenient for the ingredients supplier to have someone keying your order into their system, it is not a lot of help to you because you don’t have that information in your own system, Quinn explains.

“I would argue that doing all your purchasing centrally from an online system like Cybake, which then sends the information to the suppliers, is better. You then have an overall picture on your purchasing, rather than having to log into multiple suppliers’ online sites.”

Key consumer trends

“In terms of consumer trends, you can go externally or internally for that kind of information,” Quinn points out. “You can go externally, on Instagram for example, and observe that everybody is talking about ‘x’, and you can follow that. That’s one way, which is looking at the herd.”

Another way is looking internally, where you are analyzing your own data. If you want to identify trends, look at your own business first.

Spot those trends. What’s growing? What’s declining?

You can quickly decide which lines to drop and, equivalently, you can pinpoint upward trends, up your production accordingly, and maximize the sales of the things that are flying, Quinn explains.

Cohesive approach

Mike Clements, owner at BakeSmart, points out that many bakery owners spend so much time managing multiple systems for different aspects of their business, instead of using one cohesive system to manage their business, which frees up their time and attention to grow and improve their business.

A cohesive software system that allows FOH to communicate with BOH, Brick and Mortar to communicate with Online, Order Takers to communicate with Decorators, can be such a life-changing tool for bakery owners, it’s hard to adequately describe, he explains.

“At BakeSmart we’ve worked for decades to create a cohesive, efficient, and flexible software system for our customers that creates order in their businesses, gives them time back in their days, and is flexible enough to grow with their bakeries,” he said. “These days it’s a pretty modest investment to get a system in place for your bakery. The risks for not doing in today’s evolving world are becoming too great to ignore.”

Online ordering app

Cybake bakery software now integrates with REKKI, the ordering app for chefs and restaurants around the world.

The new integration means that REKKI orders flow directly into Cybake, allowing bakeries to automatically factor REKKI orders into production planning. By integrating with Cybake, bakeries can also reject orders placed after product cut-off times.

After building an ordering app for mobile/cell phones in 2016, London-based REKKI has become a mainstay for chefs that need to order bread and baked goods.

Now operating worldwide, REKKI turned its focus to Cybake as many of the baked goods suppliers who signed up to the service in the past few years use Cybake bakery software to manage their bakeries.

York, UK headquartered Cybake bakery software is used by retail and wholesale bakeries throughout the UK, Ireland, the USA, and Australia to manage their businesses.

REKKI Product Manager Jamie Munro says: “The integration itself saves an enormous amount of time and money. The time is the obvious bit. It is the time it takes to process an order, so there’s that calculation. Then there is also the time it takes, and the money it takes, to recover from human errors when processing those orders. They are more common than the errors you have when you have an integration.

“When you start to look at the numbers, this might save you one pound/dollar an order in costs, but the costs of mistakes made on order processing – second deliveries, having to credit a customer when something has been delivered wrong, when it is your mistake – far outweigh the order process cost. That’s the hidden benefit of it.”

Jamie Munro also emphasizes the benefits for the bakery, as well as the REKKI end-user.

He says: “The best thing for the supplier is to be able to digitize that process, that’s extremely useful.”

He also explains that suppliers can be resistant to automating the ordering process via integration as it may appear to threaten jobs in their teams.

“But what you are doing is making those teams more efficient and giving them time to do more of the things they can be good at for the business,” he says.

“For example, if they are not order processing, they can answer questions from customers faster, upsell more, that kind of thing. So, you get this direct benefit back into the business by allowing people to be more efficient over the work they have to do.”

Jane Tyler, founder and managing director of Cybake, says: “REKKI is an excellent app and the way the team behind it have built up its coverage across the world is impressive. What I really like about it is the way that it solves real-world issues in our sector so neatly. We were very happy to collaborate on this project.”

Watford, Hertfordshire, UK-based Seven Seeded Artisan Bakery, which supplies quality bread and pastries to restaurants, coffee shops and selected independent stores across London, is both a REKKI and Cybake user. 

Seven Seeded Artisan Bakery managing director, David Dwek, says that the integration helps his bakery to keep its business organized and its processes straightforward.

David Dwek says: “It’s good software and it helps us receive information in the way we want to receive it, rather than it scribbled with a pen or in a WhatsApp message or a phone call.”

Business development

Cybake® bakery software has appointed professional baker Luke Karl as its USA Business Development Representative.

Luke, whose grandfather owned a prominent bakery in their hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, has been in the baking business for 14 years. He swapped a career in data analytics in 2009 for that of an apprentice baker, working his way up through the ranks to become Vice President at Chicago’s Dinkel’s Bakery while picking up a collection of baking qualifications along the way.

Luke now lives in Denver, Colorado, from where he will operate, with the remit to spread Cybake’s customer base beyond the 22 states where it is already used by bakeries to reduce their administrative workload, improve efficiency and improve sales.

Cybake cloud bakery software is used by retail and wholesale bakeries of all sizes to process orders and automate production, invoicing, deliveries, e-commerce and more. The market leader in the UK, Cybake opened in the USA in 2020, spearheaded by Cybake’s USA Ambassador Oprah Davidson, who is also a qualified commercial baker.

Luke Karl says: “I know first-hand how complex operating a bakery is in this market and I have taken on this position with Cybake because I believe in the business solutions that it provides. I am looking forward to utilizing my knowledge to help bakery operators use Cybake to simplify and streamline their operations.”

Jane Tyler, managing director of Cybake and the software’s original creator, says: “Luke Karl is now the second pro baker to join the Cybake USA team. It’s a hiring policy that’s working very well for us. Luke’s valuable experience means he sees where our users are coming from, and from pretty much every angle. It is a pleasure to welcome a colleague with so much real-world knowledge on board.”