Farmer Brothers coffee roasting process equipment

March 1, 2021

Manufacturing Consultants Guide Change and Produce Results

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


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, reaching a successful outcome can often benefit from the help of a manufacturing consultant.

“Manufacturing consultants are brought in to help struggling operations/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 Food & Beverage Division Leader.

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

When an international contact lens company sought Haskell’s 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.

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.

“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 towards the most cost-justified 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.

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 1,800 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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