Feasibility study and packaging line upgrade in food sector

Project managing the replacement of the packaging line of a food processing company to improve packing and overall production efficiency

 

Old packaging line impacting plant efficiency

A food processing company known for its breakfast cereal is also one of the major manufacturers of generic cereals for major supermarkets. The company, Head Quartered in the US has 3 manufacturing plants, employing around 2,000 people. The packaging equipment on one of the production lines was old and some of the equipment was reaching the end of its life. It had been modified over the years and was now creating problems due to frequent downtime and high maintenance costs.

 

The company decided to initiate a feasibility study to assess its options for packaging equipment improvements. The recommendations (which included solution development) meant that the company would need to invest £3.6 million to replace the existing line, reduce waste and deliver higher yield and reduce manual labour interventions in the process. The recommended project had a 3 year payback time. The plant needed to be shut down for 4 weeks for replacement of the entire packaging line. In total, the recommended project spanned to 12 months, due to long lead times on certain equipment.

 

Upgrade of the packaging line with new equipment

Malone Group was engaged by the customer to conduct the feasibility study and develop a solution for the packaging line. Subsequently, Malone Group was commissioned to project manage the procurement, installation and commissioning of the new packaging line to deliver the required improvements. Our project management team worked collaboratively with the customer’s internal teams. During the initial phase it was found that the data systems were relatively underdeveloped and highly manual processes were in place for measuring waste to identify any process issues.

 

We developed a list of preferred suppliers to enable the customer to standardise sourcing equipment and spares. This was supported by a rigorous process for analysis and comparison of suppliers and a detailed assessment was undertaken to ensure the right suppliers were selected. As a result of this approach, we were engaged to facilitate other installations across the site as this was recognised as an efficient process that needed to be rolled out to other factories within the business.

 

Improved and efficient packaging line with buffer accumulation

The outcome for the customer was a vastly more efficient and reliable packaging line. This included introducing buffer accumulation systems. In addition, the procurement selection process enabled the customer to standardise on equipment and roll this process out to other facilities onsite. The nature of this project required a highly collaborative approach, engaging the factory operators, engineering and the business units, to work together to ensure a successful project delivery that achieved the goals set out by the business.

Food & Beverage