The national bakers buying group Bako has decided on a radical restructure of its group purchasing division, following a strategic review by its directors.


Two new purchasing divisions - Northern Purchasing Division and Southern Purchasing Divi-sion - will be created. These will be based at Preston in the north, while in the south, group purchasing will be electronically shared between Swansea, Wales, Cullompton Western and Merton, London.

Former chief executive David Armstrong, who reported directly to the board and recently left to work for supermarket group Asda, will not be replaced.

The original Bako Central Purchasing and Marketing Division, located in different offices in Preston, has closed. The functions have been allocated to the new divisions. A minimal number of staff at Preston are in consultation about jobs, but there will also be some redeployment. Two new positions have been created at Bako North Western in purchasing and one will be created at each of the three southern locations.

Six regional Bako sites provide ingredients, packaging, equipment and finished products to craft and wholesale bakers throughout the country. These are based in the North West at Preston; the North East - Durham; Glasgow - Cumbernauld; Wales - Swansea; Exeter - Cul-lompton; and London - Merton.

Acting Bako chairman John Waterfield, MD of Waterfields of Leigh, Lancashire, with 48 craft shops, told British Baker: "Waterfields has been a member of Bako for over 30 years. This is a very positive step forward - not only for Bako, but also for suppliers and customers. The closure of the central buying offices at Preston will reduce overheads and enable the Bako companies to give a better service. The move will also allow each Bako region to build a closer working relationship with suppliers and customers."

He continued: "The glue that helps hold Bako companies together is its own-label products. The change will also enable North and South purchasing to develop Bako brands, which have increased over the years and now account for over 25% of total sales."