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Cambridge Students Help Bakery Owners Create A Thriving Online Business

Two groups of students from Cambridge University in London, UK, have helped to transform a local bakery into a thriving online business, as well as optimising the production flow within the bakery.

The bakery, known as Fitzbillies, is a local favourite, and was founded in 1920 by two brothers named Ernest and Arthur Mason. Fast-forward a century later, and the local Cambridge bakery has grown to become one of the most cherished bakeries within the local community. However, like many other businesses, it was plunged into the world of the unknown over the last few years, and was left struggling to adapt in the midst of several lockdowns. While the circumstances were challenging, they managed to overcome them - thanks to a group of students at Cambridge University. 

As part of their one year course, two groups of students were sent to the bakery to build upon their skills within the industry. However, in just two weeks, the students had made a ‘transformational change’ to the bakery. 

Image of the Cambridge University Students: Alistair Chan, Wassim Ezzaddine, Sangamithra Selvaraj and Hassan Yusuf. Image Credit: Hassan Yusuf.

“The amount of work they did in two weeks was just incredible. They helped us to make some quite bold decisions because we understood just how long some products were taking to make.” said Alison Wright, the CEO of Fitzbillies bakery. 

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First, the students decided to tackle the online presence of the bakery, a factor that they felt was essential if Fitzbillies wanted to build a successful online store for their products. Taking the project by storm, the students managed to build up an awareness of the bakery’s online presence, utilising social media tools to their advantage such as the ‘shopping’ features on Instagram. They also helped to identify the correct target audience in the area. Altogether, the students' efforts managed to grow online product sales by an impressive 30%. 

“Alison and her team were always open to our ideas. They were generous with their time and energy and were willing to put their trust in us – this allowed the project to be as successful as it was,” explains one of the team members, Hassan Yusuf. 

In addition, two students - Mark Taylor and Ben Purkis - had also been faced with the challenge of identifying any potential shop-floor efficiencies. The pair took the assignment comfortably under their wing, mapping out an entirely new layout for Fitzbillies after identifying several efficiency issues. 

Image of a lego model of the new bakery layout, designed by the students. Image Credits: Ben Purkis and Cambridge University.

To do so, the pair had closely analysed the bakers on night shifts, timing and watching them complete their tasks. Additionally, the two also built strong relationships with the bakers, even going out on deliveries to build a thorough knowledge on how the business itself operated. They then proceeded to build a lego model of the new layout, which allowed the workers to make changes where they felt necessary. Their hard work had paid off, and Fitzbillies bakery has continued to build upon its solid foundation to reach new levels of success.

Article Credit -
Cambridge University