100 YEARS OF MIWE.
A story packed with innovation. A German enterprise shapes the baking industry
The name MIWE is inextricably linked to the technological development of baking and the bakery industry in the 20th and 21st centuries. The German plant manufacturer, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, has decisively shaped the industry and, thanks to its pioneering spirit, expertise and courage, has made business models possible that are today considered standard worldwide.
Founded in 1919 by the stove maker Michael Wenz, the company truly began moving onwards and upwards in the 1950s with his son, Prof. Dr. Edgar Michael Wenz, to become one of the best in the industry. Since 2002, Sabine Michaela Wenz, the third generation of the family, has been leading the company through constant growth and is also actively promoting further internationalisation. Today, MIWE stands for forward-looking concepts and solutions for baked goods production, based on its 100 years of experience and expertise as a technology-driven medium-sized German company.
THE EARLY YEARS
The success story began in northern Bavaria in the small town of Arnstein, where the company still has its headquarters today. It was there that Michael Wenz, stove maker and son of a master baker, founded his business in 1919. Machines for dough preparation did not yet exist back then and refrigerators were still largely unknown in Europe.
The bakery trade developed, thanks to the economic boom years in Germany, when the use of machines spread to bakehouses and ovens were optimised. The rack ovens that are nowadays indispensable in many bakeries and which were previously only used in Northern Europe, were first made popular in Western Europe and beyond by Prof. Dr. Edgar Michael Wenz.
Through patient campaigning and the development of efficient ovens, MIWE has helped to make the system a success – no wonder then that the MIWE roll-in has become synonymous with the rack oven for many in the industry.
THE INVENTION OF IN-SHOP BAKING
It was under the leadership of the entrepreneurial family's second generation that "sight and scent baking" was invented. Dr. Wenz brought baking to shops in the 1970s: With a strong customer focus, he wanted to bring the atmosphere of a bakery, with its characteristic scent of freshly baked goods, into the shops and thus enable the bakers to provide proof of freshness right in front of their customers' eyes and noses. And it was a success, because the sight and smell of steaming croissants has certainly seduced many bakery customers to make impulse purchases. But in-shop baking would never have become the success story that it is today without the technology developed by MIWE for baking unproofed frozen dough pieces. With this technology, the experience and the expertise in in-shop baking, MIWE built the foundations for scaling a bakery's craftsmanship and successfully expanding its branch operations.
Technology also began to play an increasingly important role in oven control. Back in 1983, the company presented the very first computer controller – the MIWE CS. Internationalisation gained ever greater importance for the steadily-growing company, which added refrigeration systems to its range in the mid-1990s. This means that MIWE has been providing solutions for all climate-controlled process stages of baking (i.e. proofing, cooling, freezing and of course baking) for over 20 years – always ensuring that the individual steps in the workflow are combined smoothly.
LOOKING AHEAD – ENERGY RECOVERY AND DIGITISATION
Growth and constant innovation continue to guide the company's activities in the third generation. By using resources responsibly and driving digitisation, Sabine Michaela Wenz has dedicated herself to two important issues. In 2009, the company introduced MIWE energy solutions for energy recovery in the bakery. Sophisticated all-round concepts for the energy optimisation of bakeries have now drastically reduced energy costs in many companies. The MIWE connectivity business unit develops digital solutions to optimise processes, network systems and manage in-shop ovens centrally. These measures help MIWE continue along its growth path.
The conditions for further growth look promising: 745 employees produce quality products, made in Germany, at two locations. With nine subsidiaries (in the USA, Canada, Russia, Austria, France, Italy, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates) as well as 50 representative offices all over the world, MIWE is always close to its customers.
On MIWE's innovation agenda are the big topics of the future. How will digitisation, with its networking approaches and ideas, change baking? How will bakers worldwide optimise their processes? How can a baker compensate for rising raw material prices by continuously optimising production and developing new business areas? For Sabine Michaela Wenz, it is clear that MIWE will deliver solutions to these questions. "MIWE has always kept its eye on the big picture and on the entire bakery process chain. We continuously test state-of-the-art technology developments, be it virtual reality or the Internet of Things, for applicability in the different process steps of baking. We work closely with our customers, analysing and optimising their processes together – for better baked goods and a clear increase in efficiency in the bakery and branch.”
That's why the MIWE live baking center (LBC) at the headquarters in Arnstein, Germany, which opened its doors at the end of last year, is much more than an impressive showroom for refrigeration, proofing and baking solutions.
The 1,600 square metre demonstration bakery is where customers and experts meet, where knowledge and experience with baking processes as well as MIWE products and solutions are shared.
The LBC is a laboratory of the future for dough technologists and bakers, who have the unique opportunity to test the baking properties of different systems by comparison baking.
In short, it combines all the expertise of a leading full-service provider in one place.
1919 Establishment by Michael Wenz
1951 Prof. Dr. Edgar Michael Wenz takes over as managing director
1967 Further development and introduction of the rack oven in Europe (MIWE roll-in)
1971 Development of sight and scent baking (in-shop baking), first baking station
1983 MIWE CS – the first computer controller
1994 Refrigeration technology is added to the product range
2002 Sabine Michaela Wenz takes over as managing director
2009 Creation of new business area MIWE energy (energy-efficient systems for energy recovery)
2016 Creation of new business area MIWE connectivity (Digital Solutions, networking of systems, software solutions for administration and management)
2017 Groundbreaking ceremony for the MIWE live baking center
2018 Opening of the MIWE live baking center
2019 100 Years of MIWE
MIWE AT A GLANCE
- Founded by Michael Wenz in Arnstein, Germany, in 1919.
- 745 employees generate annual sales of 115 million Euros at two locations in Germany (Arnstein and Meiningen).
- 9 subsidiaries abroad, 50 representative offices worldwide.
- MIWE offers solutions for all climate-controlled process stages of baking (baking, cooling, proofing, freezing), automation technology, plant engineering and for the realisation of a low energy bakery.