Manufacturing consultants help clients optimize the performance of their manufacturing operations anywhere from the receipt of raw materials to the loading of finished products. Here, two Haskell packaging engineers Alex Gonzalez, left, and Taylor Coker, pause for an onsite photo. 

July 18, 2022

Manufacturing Consultants Bring Order to Complex Production Settings

Haskell’s engineers leverage technology and data to help clients solve production challenges.

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Bridging the gap between the strategic and the tactical is a common challenge as manufacturing operations seek transformative change in their business and production processes.

Perhaps it’s to improve organizational and workforce effectiveness. Maybe it’s to improve productivity, time-to-market, efficiency, inventory handling or optimization of floor space.

Whatever the motivation, the process of creating successful solutions that fully leverage Industry 4.0 execution strategies often benefits from the help of a manufacturing consultant.

“Manufacturing consultants are brought in to help struggling operations or projects figure out what is causing the current production challenges and what the best path forward will be to improve processes,” said Keith Perkey, Haskell’s Vice President of Manufacturing Solutions.

Haskell’s Manufacturing Consulting team offers more than 60 years of combined experience in optimizing capital deployment, maximizing labor productivity, enhancing overall system efficiency, performance and reliability and minimizing waste.

Vice President of Packaging Operations Bela Jacobsen and her team create solutions for clients ranging from greenfield concepts to optimization of existing systems.

When an international contact lens company needed help preparing its existing operation for an expected 75 percent increase in production, Haskell engineers developed a simulation model of the company’s manufacturing process, comprising automated and manual processes, and analyzed the output.

The team identified bottlenecks and capacity constraints, including a poorly running line with many machine stops and more than 30 different stock-keeping units (SKUs) that were causing reduced throughput, increased scrap and lost time.

It then conducted an audit of the existing system, identified the most financially justified equipment for optimizing capacity and conducted a material-flow analysis to optimize layout, storage and flow. The final step involved simulating and fine-tuning a detailed virtual layout and debugging controls virtually to prepare for startup.

The result was an optimized, executable plan that created value and aligned with the client’s business strategy.

“Capacity optimization models help manufacturers consider how decisions about production equipment affect the ability to satisfy orders,” Perkey said. “Our Manufacturing Consulting team also developed a master plan that helped our client decide the most productive way to invest capital over a planning horizon to meet manufacturing goals.”

Ongoing operational costs such as labor, maintenance and energy usage also affect the profitability of capital investments.

When a milk manufacturer was considering consolidation of 29 dairies that collectively produced 110 million gallons of milk each year, Haskell’s Manufacturing Consulting team worked to reduce the number of production lines from four to three, reducing the manufacturing footprint. By minimizing utilities, maintenance and operations, the owner was able to realize $3.7 million in savings.

Manufacturing consultants create solutions tailored to the needs of each customer on each project.

Another consumer packaged goods manufacturer needed additional time on its current manufacturing lines to accommodate new products. Its existing production models were unable to develop an optimized solution.

Haskell’s team was asked to analyze customer demand profiles. It created an optimized scenario that allowed four hours of additional production time using the manufacturer’s existing asset base.

“We are frequently asked to help clients with their existing production processes,” Perkey said.

In another case, a paper products manufacturer had complex SKU profiles that were made even more challenging as the plant made capital upgrades to add production lines. Each line had its own unique reliability, SKU capabilities, changeover times and run speeds. The manufacturer couldn’t handle the task of scheduling a single process system to many production lines.

Peter Hall, Vice President of Process Engineering Services, leads a team that helps clients design, install and optimize highly automated systems to maximize operator safety and create a processing environment that limits contamination risks.

“We were able to deliver a customized software tool that allowed the planning team to optimize production planning and maximize throughput of the manufacturing assets,” Perkey said. Additionally, the team provided full life-cycle support including validation of results and end-user training.

When extra capacity is needed, manufacturing consultants deliver a route to the most cost-effective solution, including system refurbishment and upgrades; a faster, more automated footprint; facility expansion and/or consolidation. Their plans help manufacturers how to avoid spending money before it’s necessary and when to trigger capital improvements.

Simply, when change is needed, manufacturing consultants can provide a roadmap to keep business running smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

A manufacturing consultant is a professional who specializes in optimizing capital deployment, maximizing labor productivity, enhancing overall system efficiency and reliability and minimizing waste. Whether measuring and assessing specific equipment needs or line effectiveness, our goal is to ensure strategic and tactical implementation that delivers success.

Manufacturing consultants offer valuable expert advice in the complex undertaking of bringing new technologies, innovation and automation to a manufacturer’s shop floor.

Manufacturing consultants help clients design new production lines, implement new processes, rehabilitate and optimize lines that are already fully operational.

A lean manufacturing consultant specializes in production systems that focus on minimizing waste and maximizing value. It’s a concept that was popularized by Toyota, a Japanese automobile manufacturer and is widely recognized as a systematic approach to eliminating waste and improving efficiency.

Manufacturing consultants provide advice on a variety of topics, including marketing, operations, and finance. They may also help their clients improve their supply chains and their relationships with suppliers. Manufacturing consultants may also provide advice on how to improve a company’s processes, including how to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and improve quality. Measuring the efficacy of a manufacturing consultant includes ROI analysis and supply chain impact.

SKU is the acronym for the term stock-keeping unit, which is a scannable bar code composed of an alphanumeric combination of eight-or-so characters and usually printed on product labels. SKUs allow the pricing and tracking of inventory.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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