On-site support from external technical specialists offers producer flexibility and efficiency

April 14, 2021

Knowledge partner 

The food industry is increasingly about flexibility and efficiency. How do you keep the process running as optimally as possible when a pump needs to be replaced? But also, how can you expand a production location as quickly and as well as possible, while complying with all legislation and also building sustainably and producing optimally in the future. This article describes a possible solution to these issues.

A trend that is increasingly seen is the use of permanent external teams of specialists. A production site’s own technical department often does not have a full architectural, legal and technical knowledge in-house. Outsourcing completely to an engineering or installation firm means that a food producer has largely lost control and, after the project, the accumulated knowledge of the company that the technicians had. The same also applies to second technicians, they also take their accumulated knowledge with them again when the project is completed.

Deployment of a Portfolio team working on site

One solution is external specialist teams led by a permanent contact person. This permanent contact person works as a portfolio manager on site and therefore knows the ins and outs of the production location. He has a flexible shell of experts around him that he can deploy depending on the size and duration of a project. In addition, he has a back office behind him. Projects can vary from due diligence and permitting in new construction to energy conservation or maintenance. A team of experts can help with the various consultancy issues and also plan accordingly. Because they work on site they are closely involved with the organization when it comes to decision-making processes, but they also know the company culture.

Continuous improvement is the starting point

Such a dedicated team on site works with a lean approach to continuous improvement. At the beginning of the long-term collaboration – generally 3 to 5 years – a zero measurement is taken of the assets present. Then, in close consultation with management, an asset management system is built from which various improvement projects can be started, both for OPEX and CAPEX projects. Because a team is on site, they are involved in the plans and also know the underlying idea of, for example, an expansion, they know more about the business case and can think along better with the food producer.

Consulting during the full life cycle

Because a portfolio team is involved with the manufacturer for a longer period of time and offers the combination of consultancy services and engineering, it can provide support to the organization during the full life cycle of both the assets and the plant. It is this combination of engineering and consultancy services that adds value to the organization.

Author: Wijnand Meyer, Sales Manager Portfolio Services at Bilfinger Tebodin, knowledge partner of VMT