The bread zone
In this world of metrification the baking industry still uses the dozen as its basic unit of measurement. But there is nothing quaint or old fashioned about ARYZTA's approach to producing and delivering the vital baked components for Australia’s, and indeed, the world’s favourite hamburgers.
Now based in Zurich, Switzerland, ARYZTA has grown from a single Irish bakery in the late 1980s to an international business, which operates 54 bakeries across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The two Australian bakeries are located in Sydney and Melbourne with the facility at Dandenong supplying Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The Sydney facility is situated at Liverpool and bakes the products for New South Wales, ACT and Queensland.
In addition to traditional bread products for outlets such as supermarket chains ARYTZ is a major supplier of baked foods to Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) such as McDonald’s.
Australia is one of only three ‘fresh’ QSR markets in which ARYZTA operates worldwide. In the majority of countries the baked products are frozen prior to delivery to the stores. For around 870 McDonald’s restaurants in Australia’s southeastern quarter the buns are baked and delivered fresh by ARYZTA’s in-house fleet of linehaul, regional and local delivery trucks.
Phillip Lee is the National Logistics Manager and is based at the ARYZTA facility in the Brisbane suburb of Acacia Ridge. Phil is flexible about his location and with regular interstate travel continues to successfully fulfil his national role since moving to Brisbane.
Phil says that a main challenge in operating as a fresh market is ensuring delivery in full and on time. “For example, because we are a cross dock here in Brisbane we have to rely upon the bakery in Sydney operating efficiently and on schedule,” Phil says. “And then we have to rely on the linehaul trucks avoiding delays in getting the products up here to Brisbane. That’s why we bake in the early hours of the morning and the linehaul trucks depart Sydney between 10.00am and midday.”
A mix of company owned and tow contractor hauled B-doubles are used on the Sydney-Brisbane run with Kempsey being the location for driver changeovers. Each B-double has a capacity of 3,744 ‘crates’ with each crate containing five dozen rolls. The mathematics convert it to 224,640 hamburger rolls per load. Several new trailer sets are in Phil’s immediate plans and he will be specifying mezzanine floors with air over hydraulic operation of the lift mechanisms.
The demand metrics of hamburger buns just for two states are astounding. The average total number of rolls required by the Queensland stores for a standard week is 160,000 dozen – 1.92 million. New South Wales with its higher population and more stores requires 240,000 dozen or 2.88 million rolls.
“When there are promotions being advertised we also have to be able to provide the extra capacity to cater for that increase in consumption,” Phil tells us.
Although fresh and frozen buns contribute to the bulk of ARYZTA’s products the frozen division in Liverpool, in southwest Sydney, produces many of the foods found in McCafes such as cheesecakes, banana bread and macaroons.
Although weight isn’t an issue it is important that the products be transported in a way that avoids being crushed and bespoke plastic crates are used for this purpose.
In response to the anticipated growth of this type of business another 40,000 crates have recently been ordered from their Australian manufacturer. The wheeled dollies that the crates are stacked on are made in Italy. When loaded, each dolly weighs about 100 kilograms. This means manual handling requires very little effort. If a dolly develops a wobbly wheel it is tagged out and quarantined for repair. All of the Hino 500s in the fleet is equipped with Anteo tailgate loaders, so a roll-on-roll-off approach to the freight is straight forward and safe.
“Our people are not manually pushing heavy freight around at risk of physically hurting themselves,” says Phil. The easy-to-handle dolly system combined with the specifications of the Hino trucks fosters equality of opportunity in the drivers’ workplace and has so far encouraged at least one female to take on the role of a delivery driver. The fact that that particular employee’s previous role was in QSR store management is a bonus and provides her with a special insight on the needs of the customer.
The trucks are loaded in such a way so that the logistics of delivery to various stores are as efficient as possible and allow for the return of empty crates and dollies back to the depot. It’s definitely not a case of just jamming a load on, as consideration must be given to provide space for returned empty equipment.
The fleet located at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane currently includes five Hino GH1828 500 Series trucks and one Hino 300 Series. Each of the 500s carries more than 4,500 dozen (54,000 buns) and deliveries take place six days a week.
Phil’s plan as part of his national responsibilities includes eventually having the fleet become entirely Hino wherever possible. The Victorian operation acquired some models of another brand during 2017 so the changeover to Hino will take a few years to complete. Two more are already on order for the Brisbane facility with a couple more anticipated for Adelaide.
Phil has been involved in transport for 42 years and his family were in the trucking industry. During his career Phil has worked with most of the well-known QSRs including Hungry Jack’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos and Sumo Salad.
ARYZTA’s association with Hino goes back several years and started with the smaller 300 Series trucks.
“We started with a 300 Series in Sydney and I’ve not had one ounce of trouble with any Hino since obtaining that first one nearly three years ago,” Phil says. The local Sci-Fleet Hino dealership in Brisbane organised a test drive for Phil of the latest 500 Series.
“Straight away I just loved the truck,” he says. “The vision is great in them and the power is more than adequate to do exactly what we want. Our payloads are only around the 5.5 tonne mark so we don’t need excessive horsepower.”
A high level of reliability is important to any transport business and is especially critical for a fresh food operation such as ARYZTA. Phil continues to be impressed by the Hino vehicles and the strong support from the dealers and the company itself.
“Their service is great,” says Phil. “They are friendly, they do exactly what you want and they are just easy people to deal with. Every delivery has been spot on and it’s been such an easy transition.”
Phil and the drivers appreciate the ease of getting into and out of the Hino’s as well as the overall comfort for the driver. The Brisbane based trucks travel as far as Bundaberg to the north, Toowoomba to the west and Chinderah, across the border, to the south.
Phil’s strategy is to not necessarily spend any more money upfront and to keep lease payments in check as the lease provider Orix receives a better resale price at the end of the term. “Their recovery is better so we don’t get whacked with higher lease payment,” he says. Choosing to have the cabs and bodies remain in plain white livery assists with future resale as well.
Electronics including camera systems and the Hino telematics will play an increasing role in the ARYZTA fleet as tools to maximise safety and efficiency.
The Hino GH 1828 models that have recently joined the fleet are powered by the 7.7 litre engine, which produces 280hp (206kW) and 883 Nm of torque. All of the trucks use six-speed Allison automatic transmissions that promote good fuel economy and significantly reduce driver fatigue especially when operating in urban traffic.
“We’ve had autos for years in various brands and have never had an issue with them,” says Phil.
Other factors that have contributed to his commitment to Hino trucks include the Isri air suspended seat with its integral seat belt as well as the full air braking system.
The Hendrickson airbag rear suspension is ideal for trucks that don’t carry a high payload. At the type of weights that the ARYZTA Hinos run at, a conventional leaf spring rear suspension would likely be very harsh with too much rebound even with adequate shock absorbers. The airbag system provides smooth ride for the drivers and the freight.
The nature of the work for the drivers requires a certain degree of dedication. Most start at 2.00 or 3.00am and work six days a week for most every week. The public demand for food from QSRs translates into the trucks and drivers working on every public holiday except for Christmas Day.
“We genuinely put a big effort into looking after our people,” say Phil. “We give them the best equipment we can and buying Hino is part of that. We fit bull bars, LED light bars, UHF radios, tinted windows and weather shields to add safety and a bit of prestige to the trucks they drive.”
Despite the six-day weeks, the drivers appreciate that they don’t have to drive on other than sealed roads and the regular nature of their deliveries allows them to understand any access quirks relative to any particular stores. Geoff McKnight is a driver who has been with the company for thirty years and his ethos towards his role and the customers is recognised by Phil as being typical of the pride taken by the ARYZTA drivers.
“It’s the rapport that drivers like Geoff build with the people at the stores that makes this work,” says Phil.
The supply of buns to the stores is crucial. A hamburger chain is expected to be able to provide its fundamental products even in difficult circumstances regardless of contrary weather conditions. Phil and his team take those exceptional logistics seriously and have sometimes gone to extreme lengths to ensure delivery.
“We’ve done things like chopper buns into Bundaberg during floods and have used chartered planes to deliver to Tasmania,” says Phil.
The humble hamburger and its more complex derivatives are often taken for granted by most people. We expect it to be available at virtually any time of the day or night and we expect all of its components to be fresh.
It’s people like Phil Lee and his people at ARYZTA that ensure that those expectations are seamlessly fulfilled every time we approach the counter or order at the drive through lane.
A B-double has a capacity of 3,744 bread crates. Each crate contains five dozen bread rolls.