Production Pinch Points

Production Pinch Points

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The drivers (the positives)

We have been hearing from quite a few craft producers providing product in the small pack format (bottle, can or pouch) who can't package product fast enough to fulfil orders, despite the economic and logistical challenges brought about by the pandemic. The producers are from many drink sectors, including beer, cider, spirits, wine, kombucha, water kefir, sodas and RTD cocktails. 'Shop local' and consumer demand for 'speciality' seem to be key drivers. This is confirmed by research from Barclaycard Payments* who identified a 63% increase in spend at specialist food and drink stores when comparing like for like data before the pandemic and during the Spring (2021) lockdown. Barclaycard define this as 'a sustained shift in buying behaviours' - a 'lockdown legacy' - and this behaviour is set to continue long after the restrictions lift; 91% of shop respondents who have been shopping closer to home said they will keep supporting smaller and independent (speciality) businesses even after all the restrictions end.

The pinch-points (the challenges)

While these drivers have brought a huge boost to craft drink producers who already sell online and in retail in a small pack formats, it brings them face to face with a set of stressful production challenges, which can lead to them regularly packaging well into the night and at weekends to try and keep up. When packaging, whether via bottle, can or pouch, these pinch points can include:

  • Labour intensive processes - e.g., manual multi-stage packaging with separate stations for every part of the process, i.e., rinsing, filling, capping, [pasteurising], labelling & packing
  • Disjointed processes - i.e., double handling of product during packaging, e.g., pasteurising then labelling after cooling
  • Mismatched pieces of equipment - e.g., labelling or capping speeds mis-matched to the filling speed
  • Equipment which is not/no longer up to the job - e.g., equipment with un-serviceable and worn spares that can’t be replaced; equipment which is unfit for purpose and requires servicing
  • Equipment which is not fast enough - e.g. manual labelling holding up the process, pasteurisation causing a bottle neck in production
  • Can't yet package in required format - Some producers face the barrier of being unable to package their product in other in-demand formats, whether can, pouch or bottle, exposing a gaping hole in the production process. They may rely heavily on contract packaging services and face long waiting lists due to the current demand for these services, or they may just want the flexibility and control of packaging in-house.

Any one of the above challenges can bring the producer to a pivotal stage where their current methods become major constraint to product sales and, in turn, the growth of their business.

The light (at the end of the tunnel)

If you face any of these problems, no matter what stage you are at, we invite you to give us a call to chat through your current methods of production and where you need to be. Even if you haven't decided what your next step will be, we'd really like to hear from you. If we are relatively new to you, you won't be aware that for 37 years we've been equipping drink producers with processing and packaging equipment.

Here's a summary of how we can help:

  • Help & advice to enable you to reduce labour, increase efficiency & improve capacity
  • Help & advice to enable you to package in new formats
  • Carefully chosen equipment from trusted manufacturers, including CIMEC, ABE, Technibag & Malek Brautech
  • Semi-automatic standalone equipment through to fully automatic bottling, canning, pouch/bag-in-box, kegging lines
  • Installation, commissioning & training by our engineering team (6 engineers & 2 apprentice engineers)
  • Service, maintenance & repair by our engineering team
  • Advice & aftercare for the lifetime of your line
  • Stock of key spare parts

See our Case Studies online for some examples of the ways in which we've been helping drink producers with their processing and packaging equipment these past 37 years.

We look forward to hearing from you about your aim to improve your packaging processes. Call us on 01404 892 100.

(*) Barclaycard Payments study - 'Lockdown legacies: the 10 shifts in consumer behaviour'

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