Activities to Ensure Operational Performance

May 2021

One of our longtime customers recently shared a story about the friendly competition they have between locations. Typically, one location always outperforms the other, but in 2020 the underdog came out on top- the customer was shocked and the teams had to uncover what made the difference. After all, they were running the same products, the same equipment and have the same process as they have in recent years- what had changed? Was it a result of the pandemic, a poor harvest or some other outside force? The answer turned out to be surprisingly simple: the previously perpetual underdog had invested more in preventative maintenance and employee training.

These two activities are easy to build into your process and have a huge impact on overall operational performance.

Five Reasons to Invest in Employee Training

Don’t be reluctant to invest in employee training, as processing technologies evolve, a lack of training will leave your operation lagging behind your competitors. In today’s labor market it is very difficult to find people that are willing to work in a food processing plant, especially seasonally. Training your existing employees can really boost worker retention, employee morale and your plant’s efficiency.

Five reasons to invest in training:

1.    It’s expensive to lose employees
According to a study by the Center for American Progress, replacing an employee that earns between $30,000 and $50,000 annually can cost up to 20% of their wages. When you combine that figure with the indirect costs incurred from the lost knowledge that occurs when they leave, the time spent finding a replacement and the time new hires need to become fully proficient, your company is losing a hefty sum.

2.    Trained employees are more efficient
They know what you expect of them, which activities to complete in the course of their shift and how to do them most effectively.

3.    Trained employees have higher production standards
Trained employees produce consistently higher quality products and less rework and/or waste, which can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

4.    Trained employees will retain and grow your customer base
In food processing this is a hidden factor, but very much worth taking into account when weighing the benefits of investing in employee training.
As stated in #3, trained employees produce higher quality products. Consumers prefer higher quality products and share their opinions with others. Changes in consumer spending due to an increase in product quality and reliability may not be immediately apparent but it can greatly affect your revenue next year or subsequent years down the road.

5.    Training doesn’t have to be expensive
Online training reduces costs, is flexible to meet your needs, is standardized and increases productivity immediately.

Explore our training options
Key Technology’s SupportPro Service team offers online and instructor-led training for our equipment, HACCP, occupational safety and health, and Human Resources compliance. These comprehensive courses provide you with options that fit your schedule and budget. Contact us today for more information.

Preventative Maintenance: Planning for the Unplanned

To maximize the performance of your equipment, it is critical to perform regular preventive maintenance. Your maintenance plan defines the schedule and specific activities to be performed during scheduled downtime. But, do you have a plan for unscheduled downtime? If not, you need one.

An unscheduled downtime maintenance plan provides options for using resources, not needed to fix the cause of the unscheduled downtime, for other maintenance activities, making efficient use of that time. The plan can be as simple as a list of activities of varying lengths of time utilizing various resources.

An example of maintenance activities to perform during unscheduled downtime might include:

Digital Sorters:

  • Monitor mechanical parts for wear
  • Test ejection valves and replace as needed
  • Monitor laser sources for expected life span
  • Check the status of electronics such as computers, PLCs, cameras and lasers
  • Check optical surfaces regularly for debris and scratches

Vibratory Conveying & Rotary Size Grading Equipment:

  • Inspect motors and drives
  • Inspect spring arms on vibratory conveyors
  • Inspect and lubricate bearings on rotary size grading rollers
  • Inspect drive belts or chains
  • Ensure covers are correctly positioned to protect components from damage, as well as personnel and products from hazards

These activities do not replace regular preventative maintenance, but acts as an important supplement to ensure maximum equipment performance throughout its lifespan. It is important to observe required maintenance intervals and ensure specific tasks are thoroughly completed. Recommended maintenance intervals for each piece of your Key equipment can be found in your Technical Manuals.

Also, remember to schedule your annual Equipment Audit with one of our SupportPro Service Technicians and always keep recommended spare parts on-hand.

Special Parts Savings in June

During the month of June, stock up and save on parts for your rotary sizing and grading equipment!

5% off of orders totaling $5,000
10% off of orders totaling $10,000
15% off of orders totaling $15,000

Don’t wait until you run out to restock these critical items including rollers, bearings, sprockets, adjusting block assemblies and more. Mark your calendar to place an order in June and take advantage of these limited-time savings!