Whites Bakery

Source: Enterprising Barnsley

John Mellors of Enterprising Barnsley (left) with David White, MD of White’s Bakery

A family-run bakery that was fighting for its survival a few years ago is now aiming to double its turnover.

Barnsley-based White’s Bakery is a fourth-generation family business that produces cakes, muffins and biscuits for the school market.

Three years ago, when the pandemic struck, the 90-year-old business was left facing an uncertain future and managing director David White explored ways to revive its fortunes.

“There was a real sense, prior to Covid-19, that we were doing a good job because everyone in the business was working hard, but the truth is that we were often just busy being busy,” he explained. “We knew that for the business to survive and prosper, it was vital to make changes.”

Working with a business consultant, White identified three factors impacting the bakery: old and unreliable machinery, time-consuming paper-based admin systems and an unclear growth plan.

The business secured a match-funded South Yorkshire Business Productivity Grant that helped provide the financial help needed for investment in a metal detecting machine that also replaced a paper-based monitoring system.

And White secured funding from the Digital Innovation Grant Scheme that enabled the business to replace its old ingredients tracing system with scanning guns and barcode technology.

The funds we received allowed us to invest in equipment that has proved to be transformational for our business

Since implementing the changes, White’s has improved overall efficiency, resulting in turnover increasing to £2.8m, and has set itself the aim of doubling its turnover by diversifying its customer base. The company is planning to relocate to a larger facility within the next three years, creating new jobs.

“The funds we received allowed us to invest in equipment that has proved to be transformational for our business,” said White.

“The measures we have introduced have helped us to capture an incredible amount of detail, in a fraction of the time. Everything is recorded and monitored, which provides full traceability over our production lines: from tracing component ingredients, to keeping the production line clean and sterile. Crucially, this information can be accessed at the click of a button, rather than wading through reams and reams of paper.

He added that this has reduced the time taken to record information while capturing much more detail.

“To say the help we’ve received has been transformational for our business has been an understatement, and we’re now have exciting future growth plans to scale the business further.”

The Business Productivity Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and provides businesses with 50% grant funding up to a maximum of £12,499, with the other 50% provided by the business. The scheme is delivered by Enterprising Barnsley, Business Sheffield, Business Doncaster and the Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO).

The Digital Innovation Grant scheme helps SME businesses across South Yorkshire fund projects with costs totalling between £2,000 and £10,000. It is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is delivered across South Yorkshire by Enterprising Barnsley.