Wholesale cake manufacture Eric’s cakes wanted to achieve a higher standard of packaging and sealing, due to their business growing and the expansion of their customers’ businesses. Working with KernPack, Eric’s cakes modernised their production with the addition of a new L500 sealing system and freed up 3 full days of labour.
Now based in the heart of St Mary’s Cray in Kent, Eric and Jeanette Watkins originally founded the family-run bakery at home 13 years ago in the Gipsy Hill area of London. It now produces high-quality handmade cakes, tarts and puddings based on traditional classics people know and love to a wide variety of business customers across the UK.
With their customers’ businesses growing and expanding into ‘grab and go’ and ‘Free From’ markets, they needed to grow with them, requiring them to move their bakery to larger premises and step up the quality of their packaging and sealing.
Eric’s cakes philosophy is that every cake matters and that you are only as good as the last cake you sell, and Jeanette feels that quality control is very important “We want to be able to rely on the sealing so the girls can pay attention to the cakes, since they are the last ones to handle the cake before they go into the box and into the freezer and they’re not going to be seen until the customer gets them.”
Eric’s cakes needed something reliable that was going to speed up their production and package their cakes more efficiently. ‘The process has to be right from start to finish and we will never compromise on how we make cakes, but we will always be looking for a better way to package our cakes more and more effectively’. With this in mind, Eric did a lot of research online when it came to purchase the L500 sealer from KernPack, as he knew his production process inside out. Eric made arrangements to view an L500 sealing machine running live work at one of KernPack customers’ businesses. ‘I think it was the visit that really clinched it for us”.
After seeing the L500 sealing system in action Eric decided that it was the one for him as it was “affordable and did what we needed it to do.” After slowly growing their business over 13 years they have come to appreciate that you are only as good as the tools you have to hand, and with the L500 sealing system “we didn’t want to tie up too much capital into a piece of equipment that we would maybe not use for another year or two. We are using it now, we are making money on it now, and we have freed up 3 days of full labour.”
When it came to KernPack installing the L500 sealing system both Eric and Jeanette felt that they “got a really compressive and thorough run through of the equipment from KernPack’s technical team.”
The L500 sealing system has fitted into their production flow very quickly. They found that their baking schedule was heavier on the packaging side at the beginning of the week and it helps them keep up with demand from their large customers. The L500 also gives them flexibility due to its movability, enabling them to push the sealing machine to different sites within the production area easily. Not only that, it can be operated by one or two members of staff, which gives them more flexibility with staffing and greater efficiency with resources.
With Eric’s cakes receiving large orders from their bigger customers, they require a lot of products to be sealed in short space of time. “if we don’t seal the product quickly they lose their freshness and it messes with our production schedule because we need those trays and racks for other bakes, so everything has to be recycled quickly. With the L500 sealing system our production schedule stays on track and we can complete orders within 15 minutes. Our goal when we moved was to move to a bigger site so that we could increase our capacity, but be able to afford that move by reducing our staff by one, and with this one piece of equipment, we are half way there”
It’s not only Eric and Jeanette that have seen the benefits of having the L500 sealing system as part of their production flow.
The staff that operate the L sealer on a daily basis are now managing to seal a batch of cakes in 15 minutes, whereas before with the old system, they didn’t know how long it would take to reseal the cakes .
The L500 sealing system is also very easy for them to clean and to move around the production floor, it also frees them up to help on other areas of production when required.
Packaging is becoming more and more important for Eric and Jeanette especially when on average they have a turnover of 10,000 portions per week with only 9 members of staff. This means when choosing a supplier for their packaging solutions for their business, both Jeanette and Eric firmly believe that having equipment in situ that keeps their staff happy, their customers happy and them happy, is extremely important. They are always on the look out to do business with people, so they can pass the benefits on to their customers. With this in mind Jeanette added “there are probably some really good sealing machines out there, but it’s the service KernPack back it up with. When we moved premises we only had 4 days stock to cover the 4 day move, so it was imperative that we kept to a tight schedule and we could rely on the equipment being installed when we needed it, and KernPack came through on time!”
There are probably some really good sealing machines out there, but it’s the service KernPack back it up with. We got a really comprehensive and thorough run through of the equipment from KernPack’s technical team.