A lot goes into creating that perfect can of beer. Of course, as a brewer, you already know that. You monitor the process each and every day at your brewery. That’s why you’re probably interested in learning how to speed up the process of can packaging. While it’s vital that you make every effort to create the best possible brew, that hard work won’t pay off until your beer is in cans where your customers can enjoy it. The quicker you can do this, the more beer you can produce, and the more customers you can satisfy.
5 Ways to Speed Up the Process of Can Packaging
Fortunately, there are five proven ways to speed up your process for can packaging, a couple of which you can begin instituting the moment you finish this piece.
1. Take Ongoing Measurements
You may have heard the expression that, “What gets measured gets managed“. That’s one of the most quoted pieces of advice from world-renowned management consultant Peter Drucker. It’s earned this distinction for good reason. This simple sentence says it all: if you want to speed up your process for can packaging, you absolutely must measure every detail.
Obviously, this means measuring how long your current process takes, so you have a reference point you can use in the future to see how much you’re improving. But there are probably a number of other elements you want to measure, too. For example, it would be helpful to understand the performance of the individual employees involved in the process. You may even dig into details that seem like irreverent minutia involving your suppliers (e.g. how long does it take for new cans to get delivered, how long does it take to move those cans to the canning machine, etc). While it’s okay to get started small, the aim should be to eventually have numbers for every single detail of your canning process so, as Drucker said, you can manage them toward better results.
2. Check the Impact of Manual Labor on Your Timetables
As we just touched on, you should have hard numbers attached to the performance of your individual employees. “Individual” is the key word here. While it’s also important to understand how groups perform as a whole, make sure you have numbers for each individual employee, too.
You may find that certain employees are slowing the process down to the point that they either need to be let go or otherwise addressed. However, you may also find that a particular employee is so ahead of the curve that they may have an idea about how you could speed up your process for can packaging.
That being said, you also need to introduce some form of standardized training. Far too many companies lack written procedures. Instead, they rely on more experienced employees to train the new ones. The problem with this is just how much can be left out as these instructions get passed along. One employee does something a little differently and it sends out a ripple effect that can drastically change how you intended things to be done. It turns into a productivity-killing game of telephone.
No matter how well you hire or how detailed your instructions are, though, the fewer touch-points included in your process, the better. While you may not ever be able to completely automate your manufacturing your process, you probably don’t have to worry about adverse results from trying your best.
3. Use Machinery That Doesn’t Require Air or Water
Depending on how old your canning machine is, it may rely on air or water in order to perform its essential task. Either is a huge time waster. At some point, you will have to replenish your sources, which requires an unnecessary halt to canning.
If you switch to a canning machine that doesn’t require air or water, you’ll notice a huge difference in overall productivity. Aside from how you’ll speed up your process for can packaging, this adjustment will also eliminate a bulky amount of overhead.
4. Plan for Changes in Can Size
Do you package your beer in different size cans? If so, you’ll definitely want to plan for that ahead of time. This will be easier once you institute the first step on this list.
The point is that you don’t want to have a schedule whereby you get to the 16 oz cans once the 12 oz cans are done and then through as many of the 19.2 oz cans as you’re able to before the day is over. You want a well-oiled machine where you can predict down to the minute when the run of one size of cans is over so you can switch to the next. This will be much easier if you have use canning machines that can accommodate multiple sizes.
5. Invest in Machines with the Long Reload Cycles
Speaking of which, the longer the reload cycles of your canning machine, the better able you’ll be to speed up your can packaging process. Therefore, if you’re thinking about investing in a new machine, you need to look at more than just how many cans it is able to produce a minute. While that is absolutely an important metric, it doesn’t mean a whole lot if you have to stop every hour or so to go through the process of refilling your machine with six-pack rings.
Speed Up the Process of Can Packaging by Planning Ahead
Going through the list above, there are certainly some things you can begin working on right now to speed up your process for can packaging. If you’re not already, get some hard numbers surrounding your current process and then prepare metrics for checking those figures in the future. You can also take a look at the impact your employees are having on your canning process at the moment.
The others require planning, an essential step if you want to speed up your process for can packaging. However, this is the one that will pay off the most. Invest in the right machinery and much of this process will become automated, saving your brewery time and money and ensuring customers are never disappointed when they want to purchase your beer.