As costs continue to rise, bakers are increasingly keen to find ways of cutting utilities bills.

Scottish companies Macleans Highland Bakery and Walkers Shortbread are examples of this trend. They have been working with a consultancy firm to see if they could reduce their energy bills and improve their environmental impact.

reducing utility usage

Forres-based business Macleans has a main bakery and four shops, as well as a wholesale division. "In common with many bakeries, we were keen to reduce our utility usage and make cost savings," says managing director Lewis Maclean. "We were also eager to find ways of reducing our consumption and, consequently, cut our carbon footprint."

With a variety of upward pressures on business costs, Aberlour-based Walkers was also keen to make savings and reduce its carbon emissions from its factories and shops in the north-east of Scotland. "We are very heavy users of utilities in our production processes," says Nicky Walker, general manager of Walkers. "So any savings we can make go straight to the bottom line. We are also keen to reduce our carbon footprint and the consultants have suggested a number of ways in which we can do this."

Data Loggers

For Macleans, the plan is to install data loggers, which allows gas, electricity and water consumption to be remotely monitored. Analysts at Business Cost Consultants will analyse the data and send specialists on-site to identify ways of reducing energy and water consumption.

Business Cost Consultants’ managing director Donald Maclean says: "Macleans is quite a large user of electricity, water and gas in its production processes so utilities are quite significant business costs. Overall, we expect to be able to reduce utility costs by between 10% and 20% and we are working with the bakery to make sure resources are being used efficiently and in an environmentally sound manner."

Smart data loggers are also to be installed at Walkers, where the company is facing increasing cost pressures on ingredients, caused by bad weather, dietary changes in Eastern countries and the fact that countries are diverting significant amounts of raw materials towards biofuels.

"We are confident of making substantial savings per annum," says Business Cost’s Donald Maclean. "That includes reductions of over 20% on water and telecom costs." The analyst will highlight potential savings for the firm and advise on how utility procurement could be improved.

Remote monitoring

Business Cost Consultants, which previously traded as Audits Unlimited, specialises in the remote monitoring of energy and water consumption and offers an independent utilities advice service.

Based near Glasgow, the company manages several thousand clients’ sites, from Inverness in the north to the south of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.