Software Keeps Manufacturing Equipment Humming
Demand patterns have shifted since the global economic slowdown began in 2008. Refineries often move from full production to offline and back, a complicated process that often reveals unexpected issues.
“There’s a very specified maintenance regimen that has to take place,” Crist says. “That regimen can be defined within software, so when you make the decision to bring that asset back online, that automatically triggers a series of preventative maintenance and work order tasks that the maintenance organization has to do. You can mothball it for a month, then bring it back online and have confidence that you’re not going to go through several weeks of getting it back up and running because of maintenance issues.”
For any company involved in manufacturing, the critical issue is how well those assets are used to meet the bottom line.
“If you have good control of your manufacturing process and maintenance of your manufacturing equipment, the ability avoid unexpected shutdowns or delays due to asset problems is dramatically improved,” Crist says. “The goal is to get that asset uptime into the high 90 percent range, so that when you need your factory to be pumping out orders, it’s there, it’s reliable, and it allows you to commit lead times to your customers and successfully deliver on those lead times.”
That’s been the case at Dogfish Head, which over the years has expanded its reach beyond the Milton, Del., area.
“It helps us get what we plan to get to market,” he says. “We have a certain number of SKUs and brands that we want to get to all of our distributors at a set time, and this helps us get it there on time.”