Noted family firm Gillian’s Food Inc., a pioneer in the gluten-free bakery products industry, has relocated to a new 20,000-sq. foot space in Salem, Massachusetts. The new location houses Gillian’s’ first automated production facility, and has set, according to many, an example for how automation could benefit the food and beverage industry at every layer.
What does the Automation System Achieve?
The automated production line is customized to the needs of Gillian’s Foods, which represents the path forward for smaller manufacturers in the food and beverage sector. While the initial installation of automated production lines may cost a significant amount, the benefits they provide in terms of consistency of the finished product and reduction in the need for manual labor have proved lucrative for several players in the burgeoning food and beverage industry.
Seemingly simple innovations in the automated system represent significant savings in terms of manpower and finances: While preprinted labels cost 6 cents each, Gillian’s now acquires labels at a cent each from the inbuilt printer. The ability to print the sell-by date with the automated printer represents a task that would have required two workers working full days.
The success of Gillian’s Foods Inc. in adopting automated tools to food production also gives another lesson: According to Nick Sideri, who is married to the eponymous Gillian and is the operations manager of the bakery, potential customers also appreciate being able to see how the food is being prepared in hygienic conditions in the automated work line. This helps engender confidence among existing consumers and could also help the company’s outreach to potential customers. Sideri’s next plan for the setting is to add automated depanning equipment to ensure the famed consistency of cupcakes.