As a sports nutrition manufacturer, you spend a good proportion of your time finding new business and you want to feel confident you have the capacity to fulfil those orders. But old-fashioned, in-line manufacturing solutions require significant downtime between process stages. In this article, we look at how you can speed up production, increase capacity and become more profitable without adding a whole new processing line.
Fixed Mixers Take Time
Back in the days when being a sports nutrition manufacturer meant working with one kind of protein and three flavours, fixed mixers were a good option. They were perfectly designed to handle large batches of the same product, day in day out, with the odd clean-down for a change in flavour.
Fast-forward to today and the multitude of new products, flavours and sources of protein that sports nutrition manufacturers must deliver makes handling shorter recipe runs difficult. Produce the large batches that your equipment was designed to manage and you run the risk of product spoiling or going out of fashion.
If you’re using a fixed mixer system to run small batches, it’s not surprising you’re finding production challenging. Your kit was never designed for this kind of manufacturing, which is why your team finds themselves wasting time throughout the production process. From waiting for the mixer to be filled to cleaning down between recipes, through to waiting for the mixer to be emptied; each stage contains a period of dead time.
The Hidden Cost of Formulation
The formulation stage can be a surprising time stealer. Ripping and tipping 25kg sacks into a fixed mixer takes more time than you might think. Combine this with the need to individually weigh the micro and minor ingredients and you are beginning to rack up the minutes.
But then what does 20 minutes mean in the total of a day’s activities? Well, over a year that amount of time soon adds up. For example, working 250 days a year, of just one shift, making 6 batches of product per shift, taking 20 minutes to fill the fixed mixer, that’s 30,000 minutes a year lost in waiting time. Or put another way, 500 hours or 62 working days!! Surprising!
If you’ve decided to buy a large volume mixer this will only compound the problem as larger volumes of material will take longer to be prepared.
All the while the fixed mixer sits idle, waiting, generating nothing but lost production time. Just imagine what you could be doing with all those hours.
If you were making more product during that time, what would that mean in terms of extra sales? Use our ROI calculator to do the sums for your site and see what you could be making to sell. Go to the first tab on the spreadsheet to see what else you could do with the time you lose in formulation.
Join Other Sports Nutrition Manufacturers And Go Lean
Using a container based IBC system means that batch recipes can be formulated separately from the mixer. An IBC can be taken off-line to the filling station to be formulated whilst another IBC is being blended on the IBC blender. This is a much more lean, efficient approach.
In addition, with in-bin blending, there’s no need to clean the blender between batches so there is no longer any bottleneck or lost time in waiting. IBCs can be continuously prepared with batch recipes and placed on the blender at the right time, seamlessly providing a good flow of product through the first two processing stages.
In case you missed it, we have written a white paper about selecting the right system for your sports nutrition manufacturing company.
Matcon’s sports nutrition manufacturing solutions provide two ways to save time at the formulation stage:
1. Enhance Your Fixed Line Process With Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)
Matcon’s IBCs allow you to dump the contents of your fixed mixer into the IBC. Because the vessel is separate from the production line it can be moved around the plant, freeing up equipment throughout the process and enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of your production process. This allows your mixed product to be moved on to the packing stage so your mixer can be used again.
2. Use In-bin Blending
Alternatively, IBCs allow you to use in-bin blending for maximum efficiency. This option means you can operate an uninterrupted process with one IBC being filled, one being blended, while another feeds to packing. This has made a significant difference in up-time for our sports nutrition manufacturer customers and allowed them to be more responsive to small-quantity orders while enhancing productivity for batches of all sizes.
Lean production processes are the key to enhanced efficiency and an even stronger bottom line. With the trend for more product diversity showing no signs of slowing down, it’s time to speed up your production process and keep pace with the market.