MIWE, the bakery processing plant manufacturer from Arnstein, Germany, consistently used the tough years of 2011 and 2012 to prepare the company for the future by focusing all its activities more and thoroughly optimising its business processes. The measures took effect extremely rapidly: For the first time since the company was founded in 1919, MIWE broke through the 100-million-euro barrier for incoming orders in 2013. The sales figures were equally promising: With nearly 100 million euro in revenues, MIWE's sales were up over 26% compared to the previous year. The operating profit also grew significantly. MIWE ultimately exceeded its already ambitious 2013 target for growth over the previous year of 5 million euro by almost 30%.
The company's management sees these developments as a confirmation of its strategic realignment of the company. The heart of this strategy is a specific concentration on the company's core competencies (in particular on the ability to see solutions in broader contexts), on promising growth markets, regions and segments, on products and services, which meet the demanding standards of the customers and therefore help promote this growth, on lean processes without complications or waste of any kind. However, concentration always means leaving something out - for example product lines which are not profitable. In retrospect, discontinuing the only loss-making sector in the 2011/2012 business years - custom large oven construction - to concentrate on the significant international demand growth in highly-automated batch production, which customers can implement individually by combining the loading robot MIWE athlet and multiple deck ovens (such as the MIWE thermo-express or MIWE ideal), proved the right decision entirely. There are more and more signs that customers everywhere, even in international markets, appreciate the added efficiency of these systems, which allow them to maintain full flexibility in their product range and organisation.
However, for MIWE that did not justify a complete abandonment of large oven technology. Extremely satisfied users, who could not envision any other solution to their expansion goals and high quality standards but another tunnel oven line using the proven MIWE thermo-rollomat models, were of course served in the report year (and will continue to be in future as required) with first-class technology and the complete full range of services.
Restructuring the company into the two divisions BA (bakery processing plants for production bakehouses) and BS (shop baking equipment and in-store baking) under the common umbrella brand MIWE is bearing fruit. The dual perspective has made the distinct requirements of the different target groups clearer; today, MIWE is in a position to offer customers targeted products, consulting and services for their requirements based on comprehensive core competences and a harmonised self-image. For this purpose, for example, a broad key account management system, which operates internationally, was put in place, benefiting the BS division in particular initially. It is now internationally established in all segments and increased its share of total revenues in 2013 by 45% over the previous year.
MIWE has succeeded in maintaining its already strong position as a value leader in the main German-speaking markets, which are increasingly characterised by crowding out, while also ambitiously driving market internationalisation and export in particular. MIWE's overall export ratio (without service revenues) in 2013 was 56%. This development was supported by fully restructuring regional management with a clear focus on core and growth markets. New service concepts for broad-based international roll-outs and the increasing integration of the systems in a comprehensive MIWE Remote (Service) Network also proved effective.
MIWE subsidiaries report consistently positive results. France met the budget figures for incoming orders and revenue; its internal service organisation increasingly contributes to the positive results. As a pure service company, MIWE Austria slightly exceeded the budget figures both for external sales and for installation and commissioning of MIWE systems invoiced to the parent company, thus also closing with a positive result. The Russian subsidiary domiciled in Moscow, which is very well established on the market, also proved a success; in addition to stable sales of bakery processing plants focusing on rack ovens MIWE roll-in e+, the expectations for in-store baking stations have been confirmed in particular. There is also increasing potential for the combined MIWE bakery refrigeration systems in Russia. In spite of the relatively unfavourable conditions and the strong domestic competition, MIWE Italy succeeded in generating the highest level of incoming orders in 2013 since its establishment in 2009; the broad continuous development work is bearing fruit. The business relationship built with one of the leading German discounters can also be considered part of the positive development in Italy. 2 years of intensive preparation by Key Account Management and the customer-friendly product optimisation of the MIWE FBC (FreshBakingCenter) system solution led to the equipment of a relevant number of branches in virtually all regions of Italy. The Swiss market also proved as dependable as ever. MIWE Bäckereitechnik AG, domiciled in Arnegg, reported positive results, with an increase in turnover of approx. 6% compared with 2012. Among others, a framework agreement was concluded with a Swiss discounter which will equip its branches with MIWE in-store baking stations in the next two years.
There was very good news from Canada in the report year. Although MIWE charges far higher prices for its wagon ovens compared with North American market participants, it succeeded in delivering over 100 units of the rack oven MIWEroll-in e+ in the second largest country in the world in terms of area in 2013. Due to its far better energy use and its combustion efficiency of significantly more than 90% (measurement per DIN 8766), the subsidiary succeeded in convincing customers of the relevant added value and far lower operating costs of the MIWE system. Finally, the exclusively positive feedback of the MIWE subsidiaries is rounded off by the figures from the USA. From the point of view of the US subsidiary, incoming orders were increased 28%, and the gross revenue even increased 35%. That led to a positive result of MIWE America LLC for 2013 and to orders in hand at the end of the year (evaluated at sales prices in US dollars) of approx. 2.6 million.
Targeted innovation policy
In order to secure its position as an innovation and value leader in the long term and expand it further, MIWE introduced a standardised, company-wide binding product development process as early as 2012. This process enables MIWE to identify important market and customer requirements early and precisely, classify them based on their strategic relevance and implement the most promising ideas rapidly as marketable products and services. In an extended trial and integration process, a method was found and described which balances strict methodical formalism on one hand and practical feasibility on the other hand. The new innovation process enjoyed initial successes as early as the 2013 business year. Although MIWE was already perceived as an innovation driver in the industry, it raised the bar for the extent and rate of innovation again.
For example, in terms of the baking stations, not only the two convection oven lines MIWE econo and MIWE aero e+ were thoroughly revised in many details, the deck oven MIWE condo, which is predestined for professional premium baking in store environments was also upgraded. MIWE developed a special master control system, MIWE TC-U, for this oven system, which is ideal for use as a multi-oven system for higher throughputs and greater flexibility, in particular with two double baking chambers. This new control system, based on the proven MIWE Touch Control, not only allows convenient operation of all ovens with the standard intuitive handling from a single, central location, it also offers intelligent oven pre-selection which helps save time and energy in particular, as it utilises the residual heat of the individual ovens. An intelligent connection of the individual heating elements reduces the connection value of the oven to 2.2 or 2.7 kW - depending on the size, which makes it suitable for use anywhere connected load is restricted due to the grid network installed or the existing framework agreements. The new glass door, which swivels easily with a few motions, to facilitate cleaning of the inside of the window, has proven itself, as has the corresponding new door seal, which generally improved the baking chamber climate and the handling for the operating personnel, in addition to using the steam more efficiently. The new MIWE GS proofing cabinet is at home in both worlds, that is in both deck and convection ovens. With its rounded seamless and edgeless interior shell made of hygienic stainless steel without any mould-prone silicone, and thus permits perfect hygiene for particularly critical proofing. A new concept was introduced for the MIWE FBC (FreshBakingCenter) system solution, whose individual configurations were designed specifically for international volume customers – the vision version, which breathes new life into the sight and smell baking introduced by MIWE decades ago.
The rate of innovative developments for bakehouse products is similarly fast. For example, a special heat storage wall was presented as an option for MIWE roll-in e+ in 2013. It caps burner load peaks, permits a more effective heat exchange at a reduced connected load and also improves the back-to-back batch capabilities of the oven system, as it retains energy in the baking chamber. The finely-controllable air circulation with MIWE aircontrol, the patented heating gas routing with an additional flue gas duct and the improved steam unit located directly beside the heat exchanger, the special MIWE eco:wing sealing flap located in the flue gas route, a combustion efficiency of significantly over 90% (measurement per DIN 8766) and minimised flue gas losses via the outlet temperature of the dissipated flue gas up to 50°C below the baking chamber temperature - all with the MIWE-typical high quality and hygiene standards, makes the MIWE roll-in not only an oven system with optimal baking properties, but still probably the most economical rack oven in the world.
In 2013, MIWE took an entirely new approach with the thermal oil wagon oven MIWE thermo-static. Due to the system design, the steam performance of this oven type was previously relatively low. That was reason enough for MIWE's engineers and master bakers to introduce a whole new steam generation method with revolutionary results in terms of shine and evenness: MIWE atmo-jet, a technology which does not drip water as a spray or drops into a steam unit, but atomises it to an extremely fine mist with compressed air and a nozzle, and blows it into a modified steam unit, where it is vaporised instantly and completely. The steam is available immediately in the baking chamber and at a high pressure, thus providing saturated steam for even better product quality. In addition to this, the new technology also reduces the water volume required, as all water injected is evaporated fully, with no residues left in nooks and crannies, or dripping down ineffectively. Evaporating less water also always means that less energy is consumed. The new steam system, which can also be retrofitted to existing installations, also impressed a critical jury: At Südback 2013, MIWE was presented with the Südback Trend Award for the development of the atmo-jet technology.
Increasing demand: Complete solutions from a single source: MIWE smart engineering
What do you need for quality baked goods in a bakehouse? Good ovens, of course. But powerful refrigeration systems for proofing, cooling and freezing are just as important. Even the best components are useless if the process combination is not right, if the individual components are not coordinated with one another or the range, or the company processes overall. As a result, MIWE's system components offer one thing above all: Harmonised overall concepts, ideal for the customer's business, which combine powerful modules with one another in smooth processes to form a balanced whole.
The master bakers and dough experts, as well as the engineers and technicians at MIWE all possess an in-depth understanding of dough as a raw material and its processing. Correct air conditioning of dough (whether for proofing and freezing, or cooling and baking), and smooth combinations of the individual process steps have always been our core business.
The starting point of our conceptual consulting service has always been the existing (or planned) products and production workflows at our customers' companies - a living organism which standard solutions cannot maintain, not to mention improve. Based on this frame of reference, we design, develop and implement individual, coherent process workflows with the performance, throughput, range and batch size, flexibility and automation required by the customer. Smart engineering is our tool for this. Smart engineering means developing details from the context, and the overall context is derived from the knowledge of the details. That is the only way to create a "fluid" solution while also leaving enough freedom for the future.
As we are well versed in the entire variety of air conditioning processes for bakeries, more and more customers use that as their advantage. We guarantee their product quality from proofing and freezing to cooling and baking, smoothly and harmoniously. From the outset, we take responsibility for entire sequences of processes, instead of just one process island. As a full-service company, we offer the entire range of technologies, from flue gas to thermal oil, from wagon ovens to deck ovens, from simple cool storage facilities to sophisticated fully automatic proofing technology. Including loading and transport systems and control systems, of course. For example, our ability to think outside the box enables us to group different cooling units to cooling systems with energy advantages.
Picking up steam: MIWE energy
Now we come to another important element of MIWE's conceptual full-service range. We made a name for ourselves years ago as innovators and pioneers for energy-efficient bakehouses, and have expanded this special expertise through the years. This expertise is contributing increasingly to the company's success, and international markets are now catching up in this area too. The foundations of the MIWE energy concept have proven themselves: Starting with high-efficiency systems, and building intelligent heat recovery and heat distribution systems on this basis for efficient use of the inevitable waste heat in oven and bakery refrigeration systems. This creates bakehouse-wide energy networks designed for maximum efficiency under the MIWE energy umbrella. We ensure that we use most of the recovered energy as close to the process as possible, by routing the waste heat from the refrigeration systems directly back into the cooling process as proofing heating. Any residual energy left over is used to heat service water, rack dishwashers or for room heating, for example. As the master system, MIWE eco:control monitors all energy flows in the combined system, also acting as a useful tool for discovering any reserves and optimising system activation. In a wide range of installations, we have now demonstrated how constantly high levels of energy can be recovered, even in winter and summer conditions, which differ entirely.
Major new construction projects, in which MIWE energy networks can achieve additional savings effects when planning chimneys, are now generally planned from the outset with high-efficiency systems (like the MIWE roll-in e+) and with a comprehensively designed combined energy network system. And our customers appreciate that our forecasts of the potential savings have always been reached, and generally even exceeded. This gives just the clear, reliable ROI calculation you want from the outset.
MIWE synchro – Loss-free processes
The "Avoiding Waste" project, while not new to MIWE, is still highly effective, and has now reached the crucial phase with its launch under the MIWE synchro title. The comprehensive consideration and correction of all internal processes helped identify productivity reserves and exploit them. And that was urgently needed, in light of the significant increase in demand for the MIWE roll-in e+ for example. By converting the rack oven into a production line system, MIWE was able not only to maintain the delivery times in spite of the significantly higher throughput, but even to reduce them in many cases. In the Meiningen plant, which must react to demand peaks again and again at short notice for specific customers, clean processes have not only allowed us to react to such capacity fluctuations with ease, but also to organise the overlapping phasing-out periods of old products and start-up phases of new products more fluidly.
Logical consequence: DIN EN ISO 9001 certification
As a logical consequence of the clarification and streamlining of the processes as part of the company-wide quality management system, MIWE was immediately awarded DIN EN ISO 9001 certification of all company areas in the report year.
Now also remote: service
In particular for bakery refrigeration systems, which generally run around the clock, including several unsupervised hours, MIWE introduced a monitoring logic years ago, known at the time as a fault reporting system, which monitors these systems remotely. The technical progress in terms of system networking inspired MIWE to create an entirely new basis for this system, and expand the service offered significantly. Using state-of-the-art, multi-layer secure network technology, customer systems are connected online with the MIWE expert team. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In the event of faults - even if someone just forgot to close a door - one of the MIWE experts contacts the operator immediately and ensures that it is rectified correctly. Problem analysis and troubleshooting start in the MIWE control centre. If a service technician is required on-site, the precise advance analysis gives them a clear idea of the system status and, if necessary, also allows them to take the right (standard) replacement part with them when they are deployed rapidly.
All of this significantly speeds up the rectification of faults and allows the system to resume normal operation as quickly as possible. Timely escalation management avoids follow-on damage to the plant (and generally also to the dough pieces) from the outset. As the system also stores all operating conditions of a plant even over extended periods, it can also be used to optimise operating workflows. The new system was rolled out on a widespread scale in 2013.
As in the previous years, MIWE presented its products and services at numerous trade fairs again in 2013, whereby an increasing number of locations in export markets were served as a logical result of market internationalisation. Modern Bakery in Moscow and IBIE in Las Vegas in particular are now among the most important overseas trade fairs for MIWE. However, as there was no IBA in 2013, the most important trade fair was once again Südback in Stuttgart, where we won the Trend Award for the new MIWE atmo-jet steam technology.
As an expert for all baking-related air conditioning processes and a comprehensive system partner, MIWE believes it is ideally positioned for the expected further changes in the world of baked goods. For 2014, the company expects further growth in sales, revenue and profit. The continuation and consistent orientation on strategically relevant markets, the expansion of value leadership, e.g. by further intensifying innovation activities, and continued optimisation of all business processes will contribute to taking a big step closer to our vision: "First choice in the world of baking."
MIWE on the road to success: In 2013, incoming orders broke the 100 million barrier for the first time