The Future of Maintenance in FMCG Manufacturing

Empty supermarket shelves. In no other industry is the effect of supply chain disruptions laid bare quite like FMCG. It creates national news, trending hashtags and frustrated consumers.

Producing the precise quantities customers need, to the exact timescales in which they are required, is a ruthlessly efficient way of working - when it works.

When faced with intense competition and limited shelf life for certain products, it is also the right way to work. However, an unfortunate consequence of the ‘just-in-time’ delivery model that FMCG manufacturers run on is that a single critical machine failure on the production line can leave them short-handed, short-changed and seriously embarrassed.

Production lines in these environments are designed to maximize output, meaning there are few opportunities to halt production and check the health of manufacturing assets. Current maintenance practices tend to be opportunistic. Rapid-fire production means teams of engineers must take full advantage of planned downtime to implement the fixes that keep machines online, and ensure that food and other goods keep flowing.

The problem is twofold. Firstly, maintenance teams must know which assets are in most need of attention - so they can use the limited time most effectively when production halts. Secondly, they need suitable resources on location at all times - so they can react quickly to any problems they might find.

‘Just in time’ maintenance improves the resilience of ‘just in time’ manufacturing

For FMCG manufacturers seeking to boost productivity and efficiency, their maintenance teams need to know which assets pose potential problems to uptime and reliability ahead of time, as well as the likely nature of the issues. Predictive maintenance (PdM) addresses both of these needs by pinpointing assets that require immediate attention based on abnormal behaviors detected.

This is especially important when considering the cost of downtime on production lines in the FMCG sector. Production delays have a massive knock-on effect throughout the logistics and supply chain. While incomplete products backup on production lines, the lorries that should whisk these goods away to waiting retailers miss the crucial handover windows and queue around the block for loading bays.

Using Senseye’s software, it is now possible to capture machine signal failures in real-time from any asset type. By analyzing a consistent stream of condition indicators such as torque, vibration and temperature, Senseye can analyze and forecast when intervention is needed, providing alerts that guide maintenance engineers to the assets most in need of their attention.

This maintenance strategy improves the robustness of the just in time model. It helps engineers decide where to focus their attention and delivers significant improvements in uptime and efficiency. We’ve helped clients halve their levels of unplanned downtime by introducing PdM at scale across their production environments.

Unifying maintenance approaches

A second key benefit of this approach is its ability to provide complete visibility of maintenance performance and unify practices across different business units.

A problem common among large FMCG manufacturers is the complex nature of those businesses and the structure of brands within them. Often, these organizations are an amalgamation of business units and brands catering to different types of consumer goods.

As companies are acquired and brought into the fold, FMCG organizations end up with an enormous patchwork of different levels of legacy technologies and infrastructure, with varying approaches to data collection and very little continuity between plants around the world.

PdM technology from the likes of Senseye can sit across those different environments. Our technology resides in the cloud and can monitor and analyze existing data from any machine equipped to provide it. Regardless of the underlying infrastructure, Senseye PdM delivers a unified, real-time view of machine condition across plants.

It also means the maintenance engineers, wherever they are in the world, can use the same technology as colleagues in other plants to prioritize their work.

Upgrading legacy systems to deliver rapid savings

Historically, the cost of PdM solutions meant they were reserved for monitoring critical assets only. However, the automated nature of Senseye PdM makes it affordable to roll-out across all machines.

By focusing on crucial condition indicators, it is quick and easy for organizations to get up and running with Senseye PdM. The software can generate immediate value from existing data, allowing smart deployment factory-wide, and a rapid return on investment (ROI). Organizations using Senseye PdM typically recover the cost of their initial investment within three months of deployment, through reduction of downtime and improvements in maintenance efficiency.

The requirement for rapid ROI is particularly vital in FMCG manufacturing, where marginal productivity gains can drive significant increases in productivity and profitability. It also helps prove the case for becoming more data-driven, unlocking further investment for more complex and costly digital transformation initiatives.

That’s where Senseye’s ROI Lock® comes in. Part of the standard Senseye PdM product offering, Senseye now independently guarantees a reduction in machine downtime for industrial and manufacturing companies. ROI Lock is supported by a Tier One reinsurance partner with AA- rating, guaranteeing that your predictive maintenance rollout has a predictable, 100% minimum Return on Investment.

For more information, download the ROI Lock brochure below:

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