5 things to consider for food and drink manufacturing excellence

February 25, 2019

Tens of millions of products are produced for the food and drink sector annually and as an industry, it’s continuously growing both in terms of popularity and revenue with over 8,500 new products said to be launched in supermarkets each year. Yet, in order to continuously generate high output volumes to meet supplier and customer demand and deliver consistent, efficient results, it’s imperative to put an effective, reliable manufacturing system in place. For our blog this week, we’re discussing how to enhance manufacturing practices in the food and drink sector, looking at industry trends and changing consumer expectations.

Manage data effectively

Data collection should not be a time-consuming process (or one that is seen as a chore) but instead, it should be flawlessly integrated into your manufacturing systems to help shape decision-making. Not only can data collection help to understand the performance of production lines, but it can also help to monitor stock levels and recipe accuracy to ensure system reliability. Systems which provide real-time updates will allow manufacturers to quickly identify and rectify any issues to manage risks to the supply chain in due course and it’s something we are seeing more and more. Also, data driven systems including Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) can help to highlightareas in which targets are not performing to help improve efficiencies andincrease profitability, both of which should be an essential considerationparticularly for SMEs.

Adhere to consumer preferences

Consumers are more frequently putting food safety at the heart of their purchasing decisions, driven by the desire to know more about what they’re eating and its origins. According to New Food, 8 in 10 consumers check the origin of their food when purchasing products and 66% are either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ concerned about where their food has come from. In order to meet this change in consumer behaviour and attitude,as well as ensuring correct labelling with clear origins of production, manufacturersmust also look to meet the highest standards of compliance where possible tosatisfy demands, but it certainly doesn’t have to break the bank. Additionally, any labelling may need to be amended on short notice, particularly as Brexit quickly approaches with food standard requirements being subject to change, so look to implement a system which can be as responsive as possible.

Manage issues and stay compliant

In the highly regulated food and drink sector, it’s crucial to manage and control recipes and formulas to ensure safety and maintain the highest possible quality standard. Yet inevitably, issues may sometimes arise due to human error or system malfunctions. In order to dealwith this effectively whilst complying with Good Manufacturing Practice standards, food and drink manufacturers must put systems in place to highlightand respond quickly to any quality issues to limit the number of impactedincidents, therefore minimising risk to profitability, schedule disruption and compliancestandards.

Reduce waste

The UK Government is clamping down on the volume of waste produced by the food and drink industry annually, especially with the introduction of its new Resources and Waste Strategy in September 2018 whereby all manufacturers are required to pay recycling costs for their packaging. After all, research shows that 80% of a product’s environmental impact is determined at the design stage and in production. With waste and environmental issues at the forefront of the consumer and media agenda, it’s essential that the manufacturing industry responds accordingly. Utilising systems such as OEE can help you monitor products used during any production schedule, helping to minimise waste whilst still providing quality assurance.

Improve efficiencies

Heightened levels of efficiencies are another step towards achieving world class lean manufacturing standards. In order to do so, manufacturers must first examine their existing workflow and production rates before setting a goal for process improvement and Overall Equipment Effectiveness. For example, we’ve previously worked with one of the top UK food producers, helping to increase its OEE status from 41% to 73% in just 12 weeks. Yet ultimately, any goal set must be realistic, particularly as we know that every second counts on the production line. Improvements can be made by implementing systems which can reduce any system downtime such as a CMMS, helping you to put preventative measures in place whilst balancing maintenance workloads to improve employee morale and boost performance.

The food and drink industry is continuously developing and evolving and according to Consultancy, the production of food and drink is still a key component of the UK’s wider manufacturing industry, generating around 16% of the sector’s GVA. In this highly saturated market, if manufacturers wish to rise above their competitors, they must look to improve efficiencies and productivity levels in order to remain as profitable as possible by ensuring high-quality standards. One way to achieve this is through the implementation of effective technology such as Idhammar’sOEE and CMMS systems which can provide organisations with real-time updates, dashboard reporting and more to help you make informed decisions and take the crucial step towards world class manufacturing standards. For more information about our systems or to speak a member of our team, contact us today on info@idhammarsystems.com or 0117 9209400