No business like dough-business!

Posted on 26/06/2015

A Sheffield bakery is seeing its profits rise after benefiting from a unique City Region scheme, designed to help upskill employees and help businesses to grow.

Brook Bakery, headed by brother and sister team John Emes and Sue Gravill called upon help from Skills Made Easy which helps businesses to identify skills shortages through its Government-funded workforce development programme.

In recent years, the Wincobank-based Bakery has enjoyed a significant period of growth, opening a number of new shops throughout Sheffield as well as relocating its business to a 22,000 sq ft bespoke bakery where the company is responsible for delivering wholesale bread and confectionary orders alongside its retail business.

Despite enjoying significant growth, as staff numbers increased to 52, both John and Sue recognised the business needed to strengthen links between the company’s different divisions to maintain the close-knit family feel within the business and so called upon Skills Made Easy for help.

Through Skills Made Easy, funding was secured to help the company address skills shortages within the business. The company was becoming increasingly concerned that its different divisions were not communicating effectively, resulting in additional production costs and increased waste.

More than 40 members of staff participated in the four month programme which saw cleaners, bakers, shop managers, delivery drivers, pickers, office staff and company directors come together to examine specific issues facing the business.

Since completing the programme Brook Bakery has already reported significant cost savings, improved productivity and has even opened the doors of its fifth shop, which is based in Woodhouse.

Sue Gravill, director, Brook Bakery said:

“As the business has grown, we recognised many of the systems and processes we relied upon for years were no longer fit for purpose. We approached Skills Made Easy to see if they could offer any guidance in helping to improve the way in which our business operates as we realised that this was impacting upon the performance of the company.

“During the process, Skills Made Easy helped us to secure funding for training which has not only helped members of staff across the business work towards completing NVQ qualifications, but it’s also helped us to forge stronger links between the different departments, rather than working in isolation which used to be the norm.

“As part of the training we saw bakers spend time in the shops, retail managers help out on the delivery lines and even senior members of staff returning to the production lines. The process helped to create a much greater understanding of how the business operates, but equally importantly many of the changes we’ve implemented in the business is as a direct result of suggestions made by members of staff.

“Since completing the programme, we’ve seen significant reductions in waste and increased productivity as a direct result of better communication. This has meant we’ve been able to invest in future business growth”

Laura Hayfield, Programme Manager at Skills Made Easy said:

“The work we have undertaken with Brook Bakery illustrates how the Skills Made Easy programme can help to make a positive difference to businesses in the Sheffield City Region, not only through helping companies to improve efficiency, but in this case, it was more about forging stronger links between the different divisions within the business.

“Skills Made Easy’s workforce development programmes are designed to help companies based in Sheffield City Region to flourish. We recognise that every business faces unique challenges. There are no strings, and no costs to the employer and the free services we provide help companies to not only increase productivity, but also lay down the foundations for future growth.”

Skills Made Easy’s workforce development programme is available to all small and medium-sized businesses operating throughout the Sheffield City region and can provide access to funding for training. For more information telephone 0114 229 6183.

Pictured below: The Brook Bakery management team

(left to right: Sue Gravill - company secretary; John Emes managing director; Adrian Barnard - bakery manager; Sharon Callaghan - sales manager). 


Brook Bakery