Non-alcoholic beverage sector could boost production


Thursday, 25 November, 2021

Non-alcoholic beverage sector could boost production

Sales in the non-alcoholic drink sector have skyrocketed by around 83% in the past year but according to a new report from OFS, producers are missing out on potential opportunities due to unplanned outages on the production line.

The OFS research shows that non-alcoholic producers spend more than 36 minutes every hour (60% of the time) not filling beverages, including 20 minutes per hour lost to unplanned downtime. This amounts to 4270 units of lost opportunity every hour the filling line is running, equivalent to tens of millions of dollars each year.

The report highlights the industry’s huge opportunity to dramatically increase production efficiency to the tune of millions of dollars and capitalise on the surge in consumer preference for healthier and non-alcoholic drinks.

This is based on an evaluation of millions and millions of litres of production activity, primarily in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia, with manufacturers in the small-to-medium business (SMB) market with an annual turnover of less than $100 million. It included producers of non-alcoholic beers, kombucha, ginger beer, coconut water, juice drinks and other beverages.

The report highlights that three times as many issues occur at the end of the manufacturing process than anywhere else on the line. Specifically, these issues are occurring between packing and palletising, where the biggest culprits are the carton packer and the palletising station. However, producers scored much higher in waste efficiency, with only 0.6% — or 31 units per hour — not ending up in a case or carton.

Further, the report showed non-alcoholic beverage producers spend too long setting up a new production job, averaging out at 58 minutes. This compares to 49 minutes for craft beer producers based on a similar study conducted by OFS.

OFS CEO James Magee says the data reflects a huge opportunity waiting for non-alcoholic beverages producers.

“One of the key issues is a lack of data and visibility over what’s happening on the line, where issues come from, and how to prevent them. Currently, this is largely done by tedious manual processes or even gut instinct. There’s a myth we want to demystify that data systems and the level of efficiency are only suitable for major manufacturers — that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Changing the focus on efficiency

The report recommends better use of data analytics and digitisation on the packing line, which can both highlight stoppages and the opportunity cost they cause, allowing producers to prioritise what will make them most efficient. It shows the average overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) — an independent measurement tool for how well a manufacturing operation is used compared to its full potential — in the industry is at 42.97%.

“The industry has a great handle on waste — losses here are minimal — and that’s because it’s easy to see the damage if it goes unchecked; you can physically see wasted or rejected cans or bottles accumulating. It is much more difficult to ‘see’ lost time,” Magee added.

The Non-Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing Efficiency Snapshot report, including a comparison tool for non-alcoholic as well as other producers to see how they fare, is available for download here.

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