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As the year draws to a close, take these steps to prepare your advanced manufacturing operations for 2023 and reduce risk across your production.

After another year of disruption across the supply chain, many manufacturers will be looking to 2023 for growth and stability.

As predictions go, they will be tested to find much of either in the market, but if they focus on certain areas of production now it will be possible to safeguard the most vulnerable parts of their operations and in some cases grow, even in the face of another challenging year.

Which business areas should you focus on and how can VFE help you to keep your operations running in 2023?  

To find out more about any of the solutions we discuss in this article, follow the relevant links or get in touch. With over 30 years of experience to our name and a commitment to keep our customers’ operations running, one of our team will be happy to see how we can help.

Prioritise resilience

The last few years have tested many manufacturers to their limits. 

From 2020’s lockdowns to surges in demand throughout 2021, the resilience of your operations has been a key indicator of success in recent times. Nowhere is this more visible than on the factory floor and to those of us responsible for maintaining production.

Many of the issues set to continue challenging your operations in 2023 — raw materials shortages, staffing issues, and rising energy costs, to name a few — are largely out of our control. But there are certainly steps you can take to reduce downtime and keep efficiency high, even in the face of overwhelming odds. This kind of resilience starts with ServiceCare.

  • Our planned, preventative maintenance contracts are offered at fixed rates, for multiple years, enabling you to lock in affordable servicing and budget better.

  • The particulars of your contract can always be tailored to suit your specific needs.

  • We can combine your services with repairs and calibrations, so you get the most out of our visit for the least amount of administrative work and on-site disruption.

  • We can service and maintain all your machines in the same visit, if that’s preferable.

Most of all, a ServiceCare contract keeps your equipment in prime condition so that you go into the new year efficient, effective, and fully compliant with health and safety legislation.

Switch to ServiceCare and simplify all your maintenance responsibilities overnight.

Increase energy security

If energy prices haven’t been a topic of discussion this year, then you’ve been doing well.

For most of us, the global energy crisis has led to costs skyrocketing, challenging manufacturers’ profitability and some companies’ ability to continue production. 

But the issue of energy efficiency extends beyond cost. Quality managers will recognise that with COP27 not long behind us, the climate crisis and our social corporate responsibility as energy-dependent businesses means we must continue to do better by ourselves and our people by limiting our emissions in line with industry targets and government legislation.

  • Our energy-saving system was designed with the express purpose of helping advanced manufacturers to reduce their emissions and their costs. 

  • Its small touchscreen interface (HMI) for operator monitoring and reporting enables teams to measure and report on the amount of power consumed as well as the estimated power saved by installing the system (in pounds, kilowatt/hours or CO2). 

  • This information can be downloaded or, when installed in conjunction with VFE’s remote monitoring system, sent electronically via a remote communications module, promoting business-wide visibility over results generated and savings made.

  • Couple it with our management and control systems (available for furnaces and autoclaves) to enable, yes, greater control of the system (and greater energy efficiency).

  • Other upgrades, such as RoMan transformers, have direct energy-saving benefits. 

The issue of sustainability is not going to go away but will grow as the climate clock ticks, the crisis deepens, and emissions targets become ever more stringent. Make sure your business is operating sustainably in 2023 by investing in any of the above systems, the ROI of which continues to go up and up with the unit cost of the energy they save.  

Have you been affected? Discover the seven ways we’re helping our customers through the energy crisis.

“[L]everaging digital technology to build more agile and customer-focused organizations [...] lets manufacturers look beyond productivity in order to focus on improving their sustainability, agility, speed to market, customization, and customer satisfaction.”

McKinsey & Company, Transforming advanced manufacturing through Industry 4.0

Reduce capital costs

Rising costs are just one way in which the global economy has found itself challenged. The looming prospect of a UK recession has led many businesses to scrutinise budgets that might otherwise have just been signed off or, in some instances, increased year on year. 

Belts are being tightened and questions asked of every penny spent, not least of which: how will this generate a return? Fortunately, there are multiple ways in which manufacturing heads can save, even on essential equipment, by making different purchasing decisions.  

  • Purchasing refurbished units instead of new models will significantly reduce your capital costs without impacting your ability to expand or upgrade your site.

  • In cases where you are simply existing units that have broken or become tired, refurbishing them to a good-as-new condition will save you time and money.

  • Overhauling your existing units offers several distinct advantages over a simple refurbishment. Upgrade your machines with new specifications and capabilities to level up your operations without having to invest in a single new machine.

In each case, a professional refurbishment does nothing to impact your operation’s reliability or compliance status. Investing confidently and cost-effectively in refurbishment or overhaul services across your site could potentially save you millions over the course of 2023.

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Review your operations now to capture value

In the same way that you service and maintain your machines before they break to keep your operations running, don’t wait to act until market conditions become intolerable.

“To build resilience, manage proactively,” McKinsey & Company writes, in their article of the same name. The last few years might have thrown the concept of future-proofing anything out of the window, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless to act now. Reviewing your operations under the lens of the three steps explored here will uncover places where you can save big, unlock efficiencies, and build resilience across the manufacturing process.

To find out more about any of the solutions we discuss in this article, follow the relevant links or get in touch. With over 30 years of experience to our name and a commitment to keep our customers’ operations running, one of our team will be happy to see how we can help.

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