Causes of Inefficient Food Production Lines (and How to Solve Them)

What is the best way to fix waste in inefficient food production lines? Production inefficiencies are rarely caused by a single factor, meaning that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to making your food production more efficient. The best way to diagnose inefficiencies on a production line start with carefully observing where processes have stalled.

How can I make my food production line more efficient? In this blog, we outline different types of inefficiencies that emerge on the production line, as well as ways to fix them.

Understanding Waste in Inefficient Food Production Lines

When we are talking about production inefficiencies, what we are really talking about is waste. Waste can take many forms in food manufacturing, such as:

Wasted ingredients – Perhaps the most obvious form of waste in food manufacturing is in the ingredients. Machines need to be designed in a way that maximize the amount of ingredients that get put onto an end product, and that recycle ingredients back into the workflow to reduce ingredients. Less wasted ingredients generally correlate with a better-quality end product.

Wasted performance – In manufacturing, machines and people work together to quickly churn out quality products. They operate as part of the same system, yet performance needs for them differ dramatically. A machine with wasted performance, for instance, is not operating at peak efficiency and requires maintenance or replacement; people might be slacking or require further education to maximize their efficiency.

Wasted time – Downtime is required in food manufacturing to meet rules around hygiene in food as well as for the regularly scheduled maintenance of machines. This type of downtime can be optimized, but is to some extent inevitable. Unplanned downtime, meanwhile, should be mitigated at all costs – it can cost thousands of dollars every minute, and is preventable through predictive maintenance.

All of these forms of waste in food manufacturing share two attributes: they result from existing processes that have gradually grown inefficient, and they can be resolved. Below, we address ways to fix each form of waste.

Fixing Wasted Ingredients with Better Machines

To fix the quality of food production and ensure that less ingredients are wasted, new machines are typically required. Buying new machines in food manufacturing is an expensive decision to make, yet the return on investment is typically met within two years.

Custom food manufacturing machines can provide even greater savings. Designed specifically around your manufacturing line, they are crafted to maximize efficiencies specific to your workflow. Machines need to be optimized around capacity, dimension, and speed, and buying a machine that doesn’t neatly fit into your existing workflow can be expensive without decreasing waste.

A Two-Pronged Approach to Fixing Performance-Related Food Production Inefficiencies

As mentioned above, performance issues in food manufacturing can relate to both human and machine error. Often, it is an issue with both.

Machines are designed to operate continuously without stopping. If machines are breaking down too often, or require more maintenance than the rest of the workflow can keep up with, it may be time to replace it.

Human performance isn’t always due to workers being lazy or inefficient – sometimes it signals that one part of the production line needs to be automated rather than operated by people. When you are analyzing your production line, ask “can this action be automated?”

Downtime Eats Into Your Bottom Line

Unplanned downtime is one of the biggest risk factors in food manufacturing. Strategies like predictive maintenance are now being employed to reduce this to as close to zero as possible, and new machines often come equipped with tools that can help you plan downtime in advance to mitigate this risk.

Murphy’s Law states that if anything bad can happen, it will happen. In a scenario where you find yourself with a machine that isn’t functioning properly, it needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. Machines that are designed for easy disassembly and maintenance not only can be cleaned faster, but fixed faster as well.

Addressing Inefficient Food Production Lines with Custom Machines

Are you looking to address issues in your current food production line? Custom solutions can offer an approach that ensures great results that work around your current system. At Custom Cut Metals, we work with food manufacturers every day to ensure that they diminish waste and get world-class machines designed around their workflow. Contact us today for more information about our services.