Pollen supports artisan bakery run as a social enterprise

30 April 2020 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read

As part of its 1% charity pledge, consultants from Pollen Consulting Group have put their capabilities to support a good cause in Sydney’s food sector. 

Having reviewed a number of pro-bono support initiatives in the region, Pollen Consulting Group reached out to ‘The Bread & Butter Project’, Sydney’s first artisan bakery run as a social enterprise. 

The project enables refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world to bake breads and pastries. Alongside offering them employment and support in becoming qualified artisan bakers, the initiative helps the trainees with learning English and coaches them to ensure they can kick-off a successful career after their traineeship.

A refugee is person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. A refugee status is granted after the person’s case has been reviewed and approved by the legal system. Asylum seekers are people seeking such international protection but whose claims for refugee status have not yet been determined. 

The Bread & Butter ProjectMost of the refugees and asylum seekers in Australia arrive by plane. According to an estimate from the government, more than 95,000 people have sought asylum in Australia after arriving by plane in the past five years, however more than 80% were found not to have a valid claim. 

Despite a number of supporting schemes in place, life for refugees and asylum seekers is not easy, and The Bread & Butter Project is one such initiative aimed at helping them with building a future. The project launched after Paul Allam, the co-owner of the popular Bourke Street Bakery, travelled with his wife to Mae Sot on the Thai-Burmese border. There, the duo taught a group of Karen refugee women how to bake bread and helped establish a social business to support these women and the orphanage. 

Back in Australia, Allam found a business partner (David McGuinness) and together they established The Bread & Butter Project. Their mission: returning 100% of the profits of the bakery to society.“We loved the mission behind the business and felt we had the perfect skillset and experience to make improvements to the business profitability – and in return we would get spoilt with delicious pastries and baked goods!” said Paul Eastwood, the CEO of Pollen Consulting Group. 

Sales and supply chain improvement

In the past month, the consultants supported with three main initiatives. First, they facilitated the development of a 12-month growth plan and with determining products and target customers to focus on. In parallel, they helped the firm deliver cost improvements in its manufacturing process.

“It has been a real pleasure to work with Pollen. It been very valuable for us and we learned to think with a continuous improvement mindset.”
– Philip Hoban, The Bread & Butter Project

“We performed a bottleneck study and investigated both equipment and people utilisation. An opportunity to save $250,000 annually was identified by streamlining the workload by reallocating staff to identified bottlenecks and streamlining the utilisation of the ovens throughout the day. Examples of tips for quick wins were the introduction of Gemba Walks and standardising the cutting process to reduce waste,” explained Stephan Mang, a Director at Pollen Consulting Group. 

Further down the line, the consulting firm helped The Bread & Butter Project with optimising the delivery of fresh baked goods. An analysis shed light on the optimal number of delivery vans, the most efficient delivery routes and maximum time spent per delivery. 

Reflecting on the collaboration to date, Philip Hoban, General Manager of The Bread & Butter Project said, “It has been a real pleasure to work with Pollen. With their hands-on approach, they were able to make recommendations for efficiency improvements in just a few sessions. The implementation has been very valuable for us and we learned to think with a continuous improvement mindset.”

Mang added, “We care a lot about The Bread & Butter Project’s high quality products and especially their mission, which is extremely important. We love helping the people behind the company and appreciate the opportunity to really make a difference by sharing our industry experience.”