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Baker's 'Milly' Aims To Boost Profits

An Auckland baker is getting top-level support from one of the world's leading food-makers to promote his computer program that helps food-service operators run their businesses more efficiently.

Graham Ritson has developed a computer program to help food service operators "stand back and take a good look at what they're doing".

"We don't usually have time for that. It's heads-down, doing it, doing it, with no time for much else," he says.

The system, which he calls "Milly - your silent partner", is a computer program that sorts out such things as costs, staff performance and workload, and productivity. It was born of his experience of running a bakery. Development was also helped by Technology New Zealand, which invests in research into new products, processes or services.

"It's not an accounting package," says Mr Ritson, a chartered accountant who 16 years ago swapped a banker's suit for a baker's apron. "It's a program to manage production."

One of the main problems for many operators is the hands-on nature of the industry and the difficulty of having a life outside the business.

"Bakers feel they always have to be at work, ensuring the work is being done, that the quality is maintained. And if you stand back, there's no system to keep control of events."

Bakels, the Swiss-based maker of food pre-mixes, is helping Mr Ritson to market the product. "That will give the system a lot of credibility," Mr Ritson says. "The basic methods are not new for big companies; they've had them for years.

But it is new for small operators," The advantages, he says, are that an owner or manager can take time off, work on other areas of their business, keep productivity high, produce only what returns the most money, organise workloads, and buy only the materials needed.

"Milly is straight-forward, easy to use, and organises the day, so the operator can be creative. We're usually creative people. It's what we do best."

Mr Ritson says that, based on his experience, Milly's cost could be recouped in three months. "And someone using it could take a holiday, too."


Contact: * Graham Ritson, The Bakehouse, 246 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland. Ph: (09) 376-2516. Email: * Nigel Metge, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 454-095. Website:

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Media Ltd. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525. Email:

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