Let’s create some bakery software together
I’m looking for 10 bakery owners to join me in creating their ideal piece of software to manage their bakery.
It won’t cost anything to take part - all I’m looking for are people that are happy to answer a few questions about what their ideal software would look like, and to test a few prototypes as time goes on.
Everything can be done remotely, via Skype or google hangouts.
Drop me a line if you’re interested, or if you know anybody that would be.
Why am I doing this?
Over the last few months, I’ve had an influx in irritated bakery owners in the UK ask me to create them a piece of software.
It seems most of the solutions out there are either overpriced or horrible to use, or both!
So here we are… I’ve got a team of designers and developers on hand to create something beautiful, simple and intuitive, which people actually enjoy using.
Let me know if you’d like to get involved or forward this on to anyone that might be.
If you have any need for analytics or data wrangling, I'd be interested in contributing. Let me know and I'll shoot you an email.
If you haven't done it already, your likely to get access to lots of bakery owners over on the BBGA forum (but you need a membership for access - $85/yr for individuals).
Keep us posted on the progress (I'm just starting out (almost) and not sure how informed my views would be).
great idea, thanks for the heads-up
Have you given any thought as differentto what platform this software will run on? Not everyone runs Windows and not everyone has a mobile device. If you make it a spreadsheet it could run on several desktop platforms.
We're planning on building this with ruby on rails, so it will be a web-based application. Imagine dropbox or trello. This will mean its accessible on any platform (mac, windows, linux etc) and optimised for both desktop and mobile devices. Hopefully that will have all the bases covered.
I might be interested, depending on your target user group. I have a micro-bakery, currently baking around 50 - 60 loaves a week. I sell in a little home-based shop one afternoon a week, one little local market half a day a week and to a mailing list of customers twice a week. I need to track things like cost of ingredients, different bread formulas, income and expenses, schedules and customer-related stuff (who is ordering what, how much money they have on account, that sort of thing). I currently use email and Excel to manage everything. And I'm in Canada, by the way!
Don't forget tax accounting!
but don't have an issue with the level of my bakes (up to 200 loaves a week plus cakes/trays/buns, patisserie, etc.) I've also not head of anyone with issues who're desperate for software, but then, there are really no active UK based forums/lists, etc. or bread makers )-:
What's your target audience?
Hard to believe that a handful of complaining bakers is sufficient market research to know if this is a profitable market niche. A team of developers and designers is a very expensive resource.
Software that seems expensive is often that way because the number of potential customers is small. If I were going to make a product for bakers, I would actually be targeting batch manufacturing, because that's what baking is and I would want the largest potential customer base, which would let me sell the product at a lower cost.
But batch manufacturing software is plentiful and a lot of it will integrate with well-established accounting packages. This stuff can appear to be hard to use, but sometimes that's deceptive. Users that do a lot of data entry often despise drop down boxes, menus, mouse clicks, because these things slow down the user who is typing in thousands of ingredients and quantities. Any time you have to move your fingers from the keyboard, your entry speed slows dramatically and the chance for error goes up too. It may be that the software that's hard to use for a beginner becomes incredibly efficient for the experienced user. And the "fun to use" is an irrelevant criterion to someone trying to use software to run a business.
This really sounds like something a software developer with a baking hobby would attempt to do in his spare time. But having built batch manufacturing software myself, it's a pretty formidable task and a steep learning curve if there isn't already a lot of experience in writing manufacturing software.
thanks for your comment
.. to me.
FWIW: I'm a software engineer by trade also now a professional baker. I'm not wholly convinced there is a market for this sort of code - you can buy scales with it all built-in for example (in regards to recipe planning, etc.) even ovens with programmers for various breads, pastries and so on, or, like-me and 100's of others, use a spreadsheet and daily planning sheets for that days bake (and a book-keeper to keep track of the accounts)
If professional bakers have been getting in-touch (with the OP) then I'd like to know how - no website, no facebook, no "presence" really, although London is its own thing, so possibly some local forums, etc. there. Come to ruralistan where we use carrier pigeons instead of high speed broadband to view all this web-based glory (and who pays for the servers to run rails on?)
Good idea, but not convinced.
What I have seen people do for some software (and hardware) projects is to use kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc. to not just fund a project, but to gauge interest. If you don't get funded then nothing lost, nothing gained, but if you do get the funding, then you know there is a viable market for it...
 Actually not true anymore - I have 60Mb/sec broadband here in Dartmoor, but a mile away on the other side of the A38, they get 2Mb/sec if lucky.
I'm not entirely convinced yet either - hence me reaching out here. To help validate further and to decide if a go-er, instead of going the kickstarter route, over the last few weeks I've been approaching bakeries directly to pre-sell them on the idea.
In terms of bakers contacting me - I've been doing a lot of web design, photography etc for them, so I've built up relationships the old-school way.
Like you say, many bakers are managing their whole company via excel, but I'm finding quite a few who aren't averse to paying circa £30/month to have everything centralised. 2 of the bakers I know even went as far as getting their own system built via Upwork (albeit rather crudely).
Rails servers, things like Heroku can keep that fairly minimal.
And all this is assuming I want it to be a big money spinner... Sometimes it's nice just to create something to make people's lives easier.
If you're interested in seeing an early prototype/ hear about my findings, feel free to PM me, more than happy to show you all.
If I do end up proceeding, I'll be sure to give you free access.
Very excited about this. I am a small one man business. We get orders coming in from re-sellers, individuals. The re-sellers tend to place regular standard orders that may need to be changed for one reason or another. Individuals like to place orders by phone, email, whatsapp... Thats where I get confused.
Over the years I have frequently visited the web searching for applications. For my size of business none have give me the features and ease of use found in Artisan Baker. A piece of software written by Edward Mospan for the PC some 10 years ago. He released it with a good support website and Manual. He then disappeared, never to be seen again. The only thing it does not have is an online ordering system. Given its age that is not surprising. I guess his mistake was he only sold the software licences 25 pounds and after a while for Free. Why he did that I do not know. Maybe he was bought out. Copies are still available for download.
I have searched and searched for a good and simple online ordering system but have not really found one that is complete. I have been using one for the last six months and I feed its output manually into Artisan Baker and that gives me production reports, weighing down lists, inventory and so on.
Last year I also tried a large American package, but it really was not for a small outfit like ours it had far too many features for mass production facilites. Not really for the Artisan Baker.
I look forward to any development of a new software and will help out where I can.
We have been baking now for 17 years. As word gets around about the bakery we get inquiries for more and more small cafes, restaurants and the like to supply them with bread. If, like us, a mom and pop operation, we get requests by phone, sms, whatsapp and every other application you can think of. I put in a small online ordering system that I had written, that allows these client to login and place or update their orders. All I have to worry about is printing out my bake list each day. It will give me the amount of starter required, the ingredient quantities for the doughs and so on and produce delivery notes and invoicing. This takes a huge load off shoulders and allows be to concentrate on Bread Baking.
It also allows me to gain new customers from these small businesses that the larger bakeries are not interested in. They like the flexibility of being able to log in and adjust their orders within the confines of the lead days required for different types of bread.
I know there is software to do this (and more) but they are mostly written for large industrial bakeries that have staff allocated to the various modules. The pricing is also targeted towards the larger business, often into 000's of dollars. Not an option for us smaller bakeries.
As I said in my previous posting, one of the best programs I had was the one my Edward Mospan, unfortunately it is a bit outdated now as it runs only on Windows. But if your desperate it is still good and available for free.