Beverage production and distribution capital expenditures intended to provide the facilities are compositions of assets created by complex structures of buildings, equipment and process systems necessary to manufacture an array of products for consumers. These creations usually are based on several significant and different rationales before decisions are made involving high magnitude investments in beverage plants.

The Rationale: Initially, a prime consideration has been the percent return on investment over a specific time period. In the calculation process, utilization percentage becomes an important factor ― the ultimate of course is 100%; never the less, somewhere between 85 and 100 is a traditional range considered.  

The Approach: In the beverage arena, an approach to reviewing and obtaining maximum asset utilization would be to use a container production line and analyze the products/packages proposed for manufacture. The same approach can be used for processing systems. Here it is important to focus on the transition of production lines to realize the significance of asset utilization.  

Historically, lines were designed to produce a single one type/size container, and, one product/package, with assets involved being used 100% of the time; however, such proprietary configuration might not run 24/7 which raises other utilization issues: 

  • Asset flexibility capability becomes limited
  • Asset frequency use can be a serious factor 
  • Production volumes drive how often assets are used
  • Product/package changes can have a major impact depending on the degree of flexibility any piece of line equipment might offer  

The Transition: Improvement and advancement have occurred and the constant change syndrome (CCS) is a significant factor in utilization because containers, closures, labels, wraps, etc., have all been subjected to modifications and/or usage applications that affect asset needs ― speed, size, multi-functionally and cost.

From an operations perspective, CCS exemplifies how any beverage facility rationale with respect to asset procurement, technology advancement, availability, usage design and return on capital investment become significant dimensions in the utilization issue. 

Production planning and scheduling, for example, has become a complex function that requires the coordination of many material, labor and equipment time related elements that are intended to attain a high percentage of asset utilization under variable and often difficult operating conditions.

From engineering and maintenance viewpoints, the utilization of assets also has taken on new dimensions. Design engineers are prompted to develop multi-functional machines, equipment and support that will possess high utilization potential at less cost. Automation and computerization are now the norm rather than the exception ― and constant changes prevail.

Plant maintenance personnel skills levels have been improved and necessary to cope with changed technology, higher utilization expectations and constant packaging configurations affecting the asset downtime/uptime syndrome.  

In addition to the marketing impacts on asset utilization, the engineering and maintenance functions must ensure that assets are capable of attaining maximum utilization under established operating conditions.