In-store bakery with 10 shops mass producing items using the Rheon production line

Boulangerie Yokohama Co., Ltd. (Nagano, Japan)

Ario Ueda, a shopping mall in Nagano, Japan, attracts about 4,000 people a day in a city with a population of 40,000. Among more than 70 various stores, Boulangerie Yokohama Co., Ltd. (photo above) stands out. It is a popular store with daily sales of 300,000 to 400,000 yen.
Boulangerie Yokohama Co., Ltd. is a baking company with 10 in-store bakeries in commercial facilities in eastern Japan. All items used to be handmade at each store. However, with the start of operations at the central factory in 2019, the company switched to automated production. Three Rheon bread production lines operate at full capacity in the factory.

Mr. Shigeki Hisamatsu, Senior Managing Director and General Manager of Sales, said: “When operations started at the factory, three lines were introduced: the VM System with Rounder bread production system, the Flex Encruster with Divided Dough Flattener filled sweet bread wrapping system, and the Compact HM Line lamination system. These lines produce 80% of all products.” He added: “We started with two developments. First, the production method was switched to the dough ball freezing method (partially refrigerated) for bread dough suitable for freezing. We produce dough balls (23 types of dough with varying weight differences) utilizing the VM System with Rounder. Second, we switched the encrusting food focusing on curry buns, deep-fried donuts with curry sauce filling, to machine production using the Flex Encruster. The dough balls I mentioned before are used as the outer dough and the curry filling is encrusted. We produce about 2,000 a day. Both are frozen and delivered from the factory to each store. After they are thawed at the stores, they are fermented if necessary, and then shaped and baked or fried. A stable quality can be provided, and store efficiency has greatly improved. There was a store worker who was pleased and said, ‘Thanks to these two initiatives, the required preparation time and effort have been reduced, and we have increased the amount of time spent on creative work such as product development.’”
Mr. Hisamatsu also spoke about product development unique to machine production, saying: “We produce apple pies using the Compact HM Line. The products that require a lot of man-hours and labor are seeing the biggest benefits from machine production. This is because we can mass produce them with good quality. The goal is to make the new factory equipped with this equipment not only a place to reduce the labor of employees, but also a place to transmit new value in our products and services to customers.”

The factory production floor started operations in early 2019. The latest refrigeration equipment and three Rheon bread production lines have been installed, which all support the new production system. Only five people are needed for production at this factory. The production efficiency is remarkable. Mr. Toshiaki Shimojo, Director and Product Development Manager, said: “Rheon’s machines have not only improved competence, but also created a new category of ‘products unique to machine production.’ We want to develop products including these as well as seasonal and classic ones as three pillars that resonate with our customers.”