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Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe – From a family kitchen to fully-automated warehouse

Distribution bakery labor seasonality supermarket

The story of Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe begins in a 1950s home kitchen in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where Lois and Lloyd Martin developed the recipe for the perfect potato roll. In 1955, the couple turned their one-car garage into a small bakery with a full line of baked goods. Customers soon fell in love with the sweet, buttery, soft and golden rolls.

From humble beginnings to the #1 branded role in the USA

Over the next two decades, distribution expanded to local grocery stores and supermarkets. As demand for the potato rolls grew, it became too much for the garage bakery. The Martins built a larger bakery in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in 1978, and since then, the site has expanded five times over and is now the headquarters of the company.

From these humble beginnings, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe is now the #1 branded roll in the United States and has grown into a global bread and roll manufacturer, selling in 16 countries around the world. Its goods are sold through grocery stores, big box stores, restaurants and institutional establishments. Even with all of its successes, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe remains a family-owned and operated business that is dedicated to extraordinary taste, quality and customer service.

Peak season requires peak performance

Summer is one of the best times of the year for Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe in terms of sales. With warmer weather, consumers start going outdoors for barbeques and cookouts. Often, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe is the first brand they look for when purchasing potato rolls and burger and hot dog buns.

“We feel very confident in the efficiency gains that we have attained as well as the labor savings and order accuracies that we’ve enhanced through use of these systems.” According to Tony Martin, executive vice president and grandson to the original founders of Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe

While fantastic for business, the summer seasonal spike presented major challenges within the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania-headquartered warehouse, which used manual processes for order picking and fulfillment. Product and load coordinators would manually build loads using paper printouts to check order requirements. Further, they would need to plan and prep loads hours in advance of dispatch, which created problems when there were last-minute order changes.

With more products going out the door during these peak months, the facility struggled with space constraints to accommodate a higher volume of goods as well as an increase in seasonal labor. There were also concerns over employee safety while bending, lifting and moving products around the warehouse and risks for errors in order fulfillment.

Just as the company recognized it had to think bigger than its family garage decades earlier, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe realized it needed to automate and reimagine how its warehouse works. Always looking to innovate and grow, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe plans to implement Cimcorp’s and Westfalia’s solutions to other plants.

The Cimcorp Solution

The company conducted extensive research into the different warehouse automation solutions on the market, taking into account the strengths of each supplier, their depth of resources, flexibility and the functionality of their equipment. After seeing a number of systems in action, one stood out in speed and accuracy – Cimcorp’s MultiPick robotic material handling solution.

Cimcorp worked one-on-one with Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe to understand its unique warehousing challenges and evaluate how to address them. After conducting a throughput analysis, they determined a combination of high-density storage and retrieval along with the MultiPick solution would be the best answer.

The picking system installed has a storage capacity of 19,000 trays and 66 SKUs, from which the MultiPick pulls 21,000 trays per day. Westfalia’s AS/RS replenishes the pallet loads of trays for the MultiPick system to depalletize, separate and distribute on a conveyor.

Two MultiPick gantry robots move the inventory, one stack at a time, to storage positions on the floor. Inside the footprint of the Cimcorp gantry bridges, there are approximately 1,300 stack locations. The trays required for customer order pallets are picked by the robots, formed into multi-SKU stacks and placed on an outbound conveyor where they are transported to an automated palletizer. After palletizing, the pallets are accumulated and sequenced on a separate conveyor, which enables Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe to live load their trailers.

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