Food Engineering

Editor's Note: Another arrow in the quiver toward the goal of OEE

August 1, 2010
Today, savvy processors employ remote equipment and machine conditioning diagnostics, special supplier partnerships, heat measurement, vibration analysis, predictive maintenance tools, placement of parts in kits for routine maintenance and vendor-managed inventories to boost spare parts efficiency and management.

For those of you who think not much has changed in food and beverage plant replacement parts in the last decade, I’ve got some news for you.

Over the past eight years, Food Engineering has been watching manufacturing plant buying habits very closely, and we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the frequency of parts purchased on the Internet, equipment monitoring methods and overall parts management methods.

It’s no surprise that online replacement parts buying doubled from 27 percent in 2003 to 55 percent today, according to our annual reader surveys. The thing I find intriguing is that while more than half of Food Engineering readers polled are now buying parts both from manufacturers’ and distributors’ websites, 17 percent are finding even greater cost-savings by purchasing parts from general websites such as eBay in this challenging economy.

As the need for manufacturing efficiency continues to be a top priority for food facilities, the trend is no different for plant maintenance and repair projects. Processing and packaging line uptime and usage and the flexibility of those lines remain paramount. Today, savvy processors employ remote equipment and machine conditioning diagnostics, special supplier partnerships, heat measurement, vibration analysis, predictive maintenance tools, placement of parts in kits for routine maintenance and vendor-managed inventories to boost spare parts efficiency and management.

While it may not garner the same attention and praise as sustainability and food safety achievements, proper replacement and component parts management is truly another arrow in the quiver toward the goal of overall equipment effectiveness.

We hope this special edition, “Replacements Parts Directory,” will help your lean manufacturing efforts. In addition, we have not lost sight of the importance of the Internet in this function. The entire database you are holding is searchable 24/7 at www.foodengineeringmag.com/replacementparts.