The bakery department at Penn State University in Happy Valley, PA is a wholesale distributor that not only serves more than 46,000 students on the main campus, but also provides products on the school's other 23 campuses and surrounding shops ranging from mom and pop storefronts to wholesale bakeries.
Their typical production includes cakes, breakfast pastries, rolls, artisan breads, and special order items like birthday cakes. And during the first week of classes each fall, the Penn State bakery provides as many as 250,000 fresh baked cookies to all students. All their items are made from scratch.
To summarize, the Penn State bakery is extremely busy, and they value high quality products.
With this type of operation, there were many challenges:
* A need for a high cost night shift team to prepare raw cookie dough pucks in order to maintain a two-week inventory before the beginning of the school year
* Cooking times starting as early as 3:00 a.m.
* Increased waste due to shorter shelf lives
* Dry products with less than idea flavor and texture
* Limited variety due to short shelf lives, labor availability, and the seasonality of certain ingredients
How Penn State Resolved Some of These Challenges:
After some consultation and deliberation, Irinox blast chillers were installed to improve production efficiency, product quality, and variety. The results and benefits were:
* Improved Production and Shelf Life - The university increased batch size production cycles immediately, which had an effect on labor efficiency and product availability while preserving and increasing shelf life.
* Improved Quality - Customer noticed the improved flavors and textures. Products were moister with greater varieties. As a result, sales increased.
* Saved Time and Money - Penn State's Irinox blast chillers have become essential pieces of production enabling a more efficient use of resources. They allow for safe storage of pre-baked foods for up to six months in advance, as well as storage of larger quantities of seasonal ingredients. Waste has been reduced, and by producing larger batch sizes, energy was saved.