When it comes to increasing profits in the food manufacturing industry the name of the game is efficiency. This means finding ways to cut costs and improving operations while maintaining good quality so that margins can improve and facilities can produce more. The article “Six tips for Improving manufacturing efficiency” by Megan Ray Nichols outlines six different ways that companies can improve their facilities to become more efficient and see increased profits. These tips revolve around three main ideas: mitigating risks, reducing operating costs through more conservative operations, and embracing the use of technology in facilities. By following these six simple tips, a food or beverage operation can reduce costs, increase productivity, and ultimately be a more profitable operation.
Her fist tip is to embrace the inherent risks of a food manufacturing operation and plan for them. Ready your plant for the risks by investing in additional backup generators and control systems as well as business loss insurance to mitigate the risk and cost of lost inventory in the event of a mishap. Along with this, reduce contamination risks to prevent recalls from happening. Recalls waste time, harm productivity, and most importantly are extremely expensive. Be proactive and do everything possible to prevent contamination in the plant. Second, become more energy efficient. Nearly 60% of food manufacturer’s energy bill comes from refrigeration. Therefore one of the easiest ways to lower cost is to make these units more efficient which can be done by simply placing them in as far away from heat-generating equipment and avoiding the use of incandescent light bulbs, both of which force cooling units to work harder. Along with becoming more energy efficient, conserve water. The food manufacturing industry uses more water than most other industries. Water recycling programs, reuse systems, and flow restrictions can significantly decrease operating costs and provide savings which can be reinvested elsewhere to improve production efficiency. Finally, take advantage of new technological advancements by embracing preventative maintenance and increase the use of automation and integration. Use preventative maintenance to track and plan when equipment needs to be fixed. This proactive approach can save time and money, as the beer brewer New Belgium demonstrated when it was able to cut downtime by 50% when implanting a preventative maintenance system. Using automation and integrating your processes so that they can “talk to one-another” allows your system to run more efficiently because each section can instantly react to what happens in another.
Questions to think about:
- Besides moving refrigerators and installing less light bulbs, how else can food manufactures reduce their energy usage to cut costs?
- Are there any alternatives to food storage that can reduce the risks of losing large amounts of inventory in the event of a power failure?
- Do food manufacturers really need to maintain high inventory levels or is there a better way to plan production and delivery so that less inventory can be held at facilities?