How your production line affects your bottom line
If internet experts and business management guides are anything to go by, boosting profitability is easy. Find the gaps in your efficiency, rework key processes and your bottom line will improve.
Of course, the reality is far more complex. Most production facilities are already working at full volume, and squeezing out extra numbers can require major process changes and even new machinery. By the time you’ve implemented any changes, the investment in time, equipment and training may make short work of any potential gains.
That’s why enhancing your bottom line needs to be smart and strategic – not a quick fix. At PTL, we’ve helped a whole range of customers make real changes to their facilities and ultimately boost their bottom line.
After years in the business, here’s what we’ve learned:
1: Be smart in your use of space
The way you configure your production floor – and the equipment you use – can make a tangible difference to your production numbers. This can mean reworking lines to maximise efficiency and choosing machines with a smaller footprint. More compact machinery lets you add more production lines and SKUs without increasing the size of your facility. PTL’s V20 Melter is a prime example – it’s easy to move and reassemble, fits into smaller areas and produces on par with larger machines.
Because compact machines can slot into smaller spaces, they can also help you create shorter, more efficient production runs. Rather than being constrained by machine size and the space available in your facility, you can set machines like the melter in place exactly where they’re needed. This can help reduce the length of pipes required and the overall time needed to create each product. Even if this only equates to milliseconds per bar, when you’re producing thousands of bars per day this can have a discernible impact on profitability.
When Pittsburgh, PA’s Trufood Manufacturing was looking at options for a new melter, a smaller footprint and shorter pipe runs were two key criteria. They found that the V20 was able to deliver in both areas, which helped them save time and boost efficiency.
Project Engineer Mike Berko explains: “The short length of piping means the circuit can be broken down into easy-to-handle individual components that can be easily and thoroughly sanitised in a fraction of the time that would be required with a traditional setup.”
2: Diversify your product offering
While some businesses manage to thrive while sticking to one or two well-loved lines, profitability isn’t always about sheer volume. With consumers demanding frequent new product launches, different types of product to meet dietary needs and interesting ingredient combinations, increasing the variety of SKUs you produce can be another path to boosting your bottom line.
The right equipment can help. Older machinery tends to be designed for a single product or category, with little flexibility. Now, modern machinery can be used for multiple types of product and process, making it easier to adapt your facilities as you develop new product lines.
Again, the V20 Melter is a great example. It’s a flexible melter, rather than one designed to work with specific bar-line machinery, so it can be adapted for use in all types of facilities. Importantly, the V20 is designed for ease of cleaning and breakdown as well, making it quick and efficient switching between product lines, even if you’re working with allergens. When you’re producing more products in smaller volumes, this is crucial.
TruFood Manufacturing sells a wide range of products, including chocolate, protein bars, and other health-focused foods. Their broad product range means flexibility is a must at their production facility. Project Engineer Mike Berko explains why: “Ease of use, ease of sanitation, minimal downtime for sanitation and flexibility to switch between products to keep up with our customers’ demands.”
3: Machinery matters
Better machinery and equipment seems like a logical step in boosting efficiency – unfortunately, you can’t draw a straight line from new machinery to a better bottom line. Any investment in new machinery needs to be backed by gains in productivity over time.
Although you won’t necessarily see a return on your investment immediately, you must be able to forecast improved efficiency and a boost to your bottom line in the long term. This is where seeking out flexible, modern equipment can make a difference – it can help you maximise efficiency and increase SKU production in future, even if that’s not a priority right now.
National Foodworks Services is an Illinois-based facility that manufactures food products for a wide range of smaller operators. The business has invested in the best possible equipment for their production floor – after all, that’s what drives profitability.
President Matt Dausman explains: “The reliability of this line is of paramount importance as it drives 95% of our revenue.”
Because NFS helps develop new products for so many other businesses, big and small, it’s also essential that their production line is flexible – they need to be able to switch between products quickly, introduce new ingredients and product lines frequently, and maintain rigorous standards of hygiene throughout.
“The many different types of bars we have been able to run on this line has really helped our flexible business model,” says Matt.
Process perfection with PTL
If your business has done things a certain way for years, introducing new equipment and new processes can be difficult and time-consuming. But if you want to boost efficiency and improve your bottom line, there’s really no alternative.
We can’t offer a quick fix, but our flexible, customisable, hyper-efficient machinery means we can help you make real changes in your manufacturing facility – and hopefully improve profitability in the long term.
Need more detail? Download our eBook ‘5 Key Elements of Successful Bar Production’ to see our world-class equipment in action.