Is Facilities
Maintenance Eating
Away at Your
and Profits?

Find out how to operate your food and beverage facilities at peak performance while staying ahead of regulatory compliance, maintenance and safety.

Squeezing the most out of razor-thin profit margins is a big challenge for food and beverage manufacturers trying to grow in a highly regulated and competitive environment. Leadership must keep their eyes on production and safely manufacturing products at a competitive cost. But constantly competing for attention are non-value-added activities that can eat away at productivity and profitability.

If one or more of the following seven statements applies to your business, you may want to investigate how partnering with an Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) provider can help you operate at peak performance and save you money.

- To maximize productivity and keep costs down, we use our own maintenance staff to handle routine and preventive maintenance.

Your maintenance staff likely wears many hats. When there's a problem on the line, technicians drop whatever they're doing and work to get the line back up and running. Every component of the production process — from the dock doors where incoming materials are received, to the processing areas, to the packaging line, to the palletizers, to the dock door with the outbound finished product — must function smoothly. Because of this complexity, you often end up in a reactive maintenance mode.

The downside is that preventive maintenance gets put off (or entirely neglected) and small problems often end up becoming bigger, more costly problems. For example, if an air conditioner unit goes out in August, you may have to shut the plant down. If your sprinklers, backflow preventers, eyewash stations, or other safety equipment isn’t working properly, you have big regulatory problems on your hands, too.

- Sometimes we’re forced to reduce maintenance staff to cut costs when production    slows.

When volume drops, you may need to reduce staff. If your remaining maintenance staff is already stretched thin with production-critical work, you won’t have technicians on hand when problems arise. Your only option becomes calling in an independent contractor to take care of the emergency, which can become outrageously expensive. Costs mount quickly as you pay the contractor a hefty fee just to come out to your facility, plus the hourly rate and cost of parts.

- Managing third-party mechanics and other technicians is complicated, frustrating and time-wasting for our staff.

Managing contractors can be a lot of work. For starters, does your staff know whom to call when something breaks? How do you find a good electrician quickly? Your procurement department may not have time to compare and approve providers if you have to get someone in fast.

If you do use contractors, you probably have several. That multiplies the confusion of whom to call, as well as increases the work for your procurement and accounts payable staff that must process invoices every time you receive a service.

- We sometimes face situations where we’re totally blindsided by a problem that shuts down production.

You know your facility inside and out. That air conditioner has been chugging along for years and is ready to stop working any time. Preventive maintenance is long overdue on the palletizers. The break room needs some freshening up to fix broken fixtures and missing tiles. But there’s always a situation that couldn’t have been anticipated. Maybe a roller breaks on a dock door and, suddenly, you can’t get the door open to receive raw materials. Now it affects production.

Avoiding getting blindsided requires a thorough condition assessment. An assessment can help you identify unknown problems and develop a plan to address them, bring in the right sources to address chronic, lingering problems and get you out of firefighting mode.

- We have a hard time determining facilities maintenance costs because finance bundles our cost center with others.

Do you know how much you’re spending on facilities maintenance costs? If your facilities cost center isn’t separated out from production costs, it can be hard to see where you’re spending money, or not spending money, on maintenance.

By gaining visibility into spending, you can see if there’s a piece of equipment that’s draining money for maintenance because it’s getting to the end of its life or how much you’re overspending on emergency contractors. There may be other areas where you’re deferring maintenance and costly problems keep cropping up.

- When production equipment breaks down unexpectedly, it makes it difficult to do effective life cycle asset management and capital planning.

Most food and beverage manufacturers repair or replace equipment when something breaks. But some pieces of equipment are more critical to production than others.

Through Life Cycle Asset Management, you can make the situation less challenging by assessing whether to invest in new equipment or extend the life of existing equipment with proper maintenance. Being able to make smart long-term capital spending decisions maximizes production and keeps costs under control.

- We can’t afford to outsource facilities management.

With budgets tight and maintenance staff performing multiple functions, it seems hard to justify paying an outside firm to provide facilities management services. The truth is that outsourcing your facilities management has many benefits, including cost savings. It will help your facility:

  • Free staff from non-production functions to focus on keeping production running smoothly, efficiently and safely
  • Have dedicated facilities management staff available to avoid costly calls to independent contractors, without increasing your in-house staff
  • Consolidate third-party providers across your network
  • Take advantage of your IFM provider’s negotiating power to get preferred rates
  • Have your vendor contracts reviewed to ensure services are being completed per scope of work or service level agreement
  • Identify hidden problems that can blindside you
  • Move from reactive to preventive mode to catch problems early, before they become bigger and costly
  • Ensure regulatory compliance of facilities scope
  • Discover how your plant uses energy and implement energy-efficient improvements
  • Identify where your facilities management dollars are going — and should be going
  • Use a condition assessment to make more informed capital planning decisions
  • Provide a more attractive work environment to help retain your trusted, experienced employees
- An IFM Partnership Helps Minimize Downtime and Drive Financial Performance

What kind of services can you expect from an IFM partner?

  • Predictive and preventive maintenance
  • Buying power through pre-vetted strategic suppliers
  • Work order management
  • Baseline energy management
  • Intelligent reporting and communication
  • Mobile engineering services

An IFM partnership allows facilities to operate at peak performance while staying ahead of regulatory compliance, maintenance and safety. The right integrated facilities management partner will act as an extension of your internal staff, freeing you from the day-to-day hassles of maintenance that keep you from staying laser-focused on what you should be doing: safely manufacturing the highest quality product possible and staying ahead of the competition.

Like what you read?