Product loss is inevitable, but avoiding it in a high-output food production facility should be an essential goal and a critical sustainability factor of growth focused companies. Engineering and manufacturing teams are increasingly relying on several strategies to reduce food and time waste which negatively impact OEE (overall equipment efficiency).
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Product loss at facility level can be the consequence of poor quality materials, wrong manufacturing methods, downtime due to electro-mechanical equipment failures, human errors, or harsh room conditions (insufficient lightning, too humid / too hot working environments), just to name a few. Any combination of these causes has the potential to create yield loss or product waste. Many high growth companies around the world still underestimate the importance of reducing product loss in order to become even more sustainable and successful.
First Product Loss Priority: Reduce Downtime
To put it simply, downtime is when equipment is out of action or unavailable for immediate use. In a high-output scenario, it involves both planned and unplanned time during which production activities are not being executed for one reason or another.
Downtime costs thousands of dollars per hour at high-output processing facilities. In addition to the obvious waste of shift time available, resources wasted during downtime include water and materials consumed but not transformed into value-added products, energy, and labor. It also reduces the OEE of any high-output line and negatively impacts assets utilization.Common causes include:
- Corrective maintenance to solve mechanical or electrical equipment failures
- Quality loss (scrap and/or rework)
- Planned preventive maintenance activities on weekends or sanitation days
- Scheduled cleaning and sanitizing activities for open product-contact surfaces
- Scheduled clean-in-place (CIP) for closed equipment
- Mandatory changeover due to allergen and/or ingredient management policies
- No demand or the production line is not used at full capacity
- Insufficient floor personnel to operate machines at full capacity
- Disruption in the supply of raw materials
- Human errors during product handling or equipment operation
- Process related rate loss due to poor line balancing or equipment undersizing
- Excess inventory of finished product
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