Bakery Pass

Bäckerei Pass pairs flexibility and quality thanks to Pcdata’s LED displays


Every day, Bäckerei Pass supplies thousands of people in the Düsseldorf vicinity with fresh bread and pastry. The traditional bakery uses the latest Pcdata LED displays for the distribution of all bread products to save up to one hour per day. Co-owner Christoph Pass: “Our employees also like to work with this distribution system. It is much quicker to see how many units they must distribute, have their hands free and they don’t have to walk around so much.

Bäckerei Pass, established in 1962, has eighteen branches located in the area between Düsseldorf and Leverkusen. The traditional bakery does not have to grow much more, says Christoph Pass, who manages the business with his sister, Dorothee. “Maybe a few more branches can be added, no more. If we become too big, we will no longer be able to offer the quality that we have become known for. Just look at the industrial bakeries that serve large parts of the country from a single location. They have to start baking the bread today that will be in the shops tomorrow. How can you still call that bread fresh?”

The breads and pastries from Bäckerei Pass have been baked in a central bakery south of Düsseldorf for the past 27 years. Five delivery vans depart on their first round to the branches at around five o’clock in the morning. The second delivery follows between eight o’clock and half-past eight. The branches that then still need something, can expect a last delivery at around eleven o’clock. “Because all the branches are located within a radius of fifteen kilometres around the bakery, we can afford the luxury of delivering several times a day. This means fresher products, but also more flexibility to respond to demand in the stores,” says Pass.

New LED displays

Before the trucks can depart, the fresh products must be divided for the various branches. Pass has been using the latest generation Pcdata LED displays for this purpose since September 2017. There are three distribution streets in the cramped distribution area, each equipped with eighteen displays: one for bread, one for rolls and one for “breakfast pastries” such as croissants and pretzels. The displays show how many units each branch requires. That quantity is taken from the baking tray and placed in the crates below the display. “Because the display can show different colours, a divider can place several kinds of bread at the same time. Each bread type has its own colour,” explains Pass.

The new displays show much more information. The number of the branch is displayed in yellow on the third line. The line below that shows a purple bar, which indicates how much of the order for that store is complete. As the dividing process progresses, the purple bar continues to fill. “One or two dividers work in each street, depending on how busy it is. Given the number of colours per display, we can divide seven products at the same time in theory, but we don’t do that in reality. Usually, a divider does not process more than three products at the same time. “More is simply not convenient,” declares Pass.


Intelligence in the system

The distribution process actually already starts in the branches as the branch manager places the order for the next day through the checkout system. The orders automatically enter Bäckerei Pass’ business software, after which they are checked. The orders are then transferred to the Pcdata distribution system. When the dividers arrive at three o’clock in the morning, they can indicate which product they want to divide in the Pcdata terminal. The quantity that each branch has ordered then automatically appears on the displays. Once all of the products have been divided, the displays show the message ”fertig” [completed].

The intelligence in the system is especially visible when it comes to deviating quantities. If the bakery has baked too little bread in one batch, the allocation to the branches is cut in proportion to their turnover. If too many products come out of the oven, they go to the branches with the largest turnover. “But we know how much the branches have ordered, therefore also how much we need to bake. If we have a shortage, we bake some more bread or rolls to go out with the next delivery. That is the real advantage of the flexibility that we offer,” Pass explains.


More colours, more possibilities

Bäckerei Pass has been using the Pcdata distribution system for quite some time. In 2001, the company was the first bakery to install the Pcdata displays, which had been working well for the past sixteen years. Last year saw the end of their service life. The installation of the new displays took one day, while commissioning of the system took another day. “These LED displays have more colours, there are more graphic options and they also support the German language. The brightness is also much better, which makes working with the displays even easier,” says Pass, who indicated that Pcdata was not a random choice. “We looked around in the market, but for us, Pcdata still offers the best and most practical solutions. Their price/quality ratio was also better than that of other solutions.”

Did Pass ever doubt the choice of a Dutch supplier? “Never. Here in North Rhine Westphalia, we are close to the Dutch border and there is much cross-border contact. Pcdata’s location is no more than an hour’s drive away. The people are uncomplicated, communication is good and they consider issues with us. When we call the hotline with a problem we are helped really quickly. The service employee at Pcdata can log into our system remotely and quickly discover what the problem is. But, in all honesty, we hardly need the hotline. If it happens once a year, that’s a lot.”


One hour faster

A return to the old situation prior to 2001 has now become unthinkable. That would mean that Pass would have to print piles of paper distribution lists every day. The dividers would then have to divide the products with a baking tray in their hands. While they currently have their hands free and only need to look up, they would have had to continuously consult the list, examine it line by line and write down deviating quantities with a pen. “Working with paper distribution lists takes a lot of time and results in many mistakes. The one time that Pcdata’s system was not available due to a power failure, we needed an hour to divide everything. One hour time gain a day with three dividers: you can easily calculate how much we are saving based on that,” says Pass.

Thanks to the Pcdata distribution system, the distribution process is therefore faster, better and more structured.

“And perhaps most important, the employees also consider this system much easier to work with. They have their hands free, they can quickly see how many units a store has ordered and they don’t have to walk as far,” states Pass, while emphasising that the system can also be a profitable solution for smaller bakeries. “Such an investment can already be rewarding from eight to ten branches.”