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Outsourced MRO stock management bears fruit

27 August 2017

Find out how Heineken has optimised its procurement and maintenance stores management process, giving its maintenance engineers more time to focus on keeping the plant running efficiently. 

Hereford Cider Mill is one of five Heineken sites in the UK, manufacturing and bottling around 6.5MHL of cider each year. The facility is responsible for manufacturing products for some of the UK’s best-known brands including Strongbow and Bulmers, and the loss of just a few hours through downtime could result in reduced production output. 

Maintaining the smooth operation of machinery and avoiding equipment failure is a top priority for the maintenance team at the Hereford Cider Mill  team. Stock management and procurement tasks are a secondary consideration, with no real stores optimisation or supplier consolidation process in place. Heineken realised the potential for significant cost savings by streamlining its range of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products stocked onsite. This would also have the potential to make life easier for its maintenance team.

Having previously worked with Heineken, Brammer was selected by the maintenance team to manage the procurement process and help optimise the MRO stock. Brammer recommended the implementation of Insite - a dedicated Brammer branch housed within the Hereford facility, headed up by a Brammer professional with the right experience and technical knowledge to advise on products and their capabilities within the facility. 

This solution allowed the maintenance team to  focus ontheir specialism – overseeing and repairing onsite machinery and equipment, and guaranteeing smooth operation of the facility.

Store redesign
As well as overseeing procurement by consolidating stock and reducing suppliers, the Insite team worked closely with onsite staff to redesign the layout of the stores unit. This involved stocking it with recommended products and removing stock that wasn’t used, and it optimised accessibility by rearranging products so that fast-moving consumables were more accessible than lower usage items. This helped to reduce the time spent by technicians when searching for parts. 

Insite was implemented at the site in 2010. Since then the time taken to access MRO products has been significantly reduced – to less than 40 seconds, in comparison to between two and four minutes previously. A huge benefit for the facility has been the time saved procuring the stock; with ordering, delivery, stocking and charging all managed through Brammer.

Working as an extension of the maintenance team, Brammer’s knowledge of the product inventory means its Insite team has been able to advise the best items for the job and also to recommend an alternative if it’s not available. 

The solution is also contributing to increasing productivity and reducing downtime through the ‘kitting up’ process. Here, Heineken maintenance planners create itineraries for planned and reactive jobs, which are now passed over to the Insite team who assemble individual work kits for each task, containing every spare part the engineer requires to complete their task. Heineken’s engineers simply collect their job sheet and kit box, which allows them to spend the maximum amount of time on value-adding maintenance tasks around the plant, with Brammer responsible for equipping them for the job.

The Insite team’s knowledge of the inventory has also offers a valuable resource and point of contact for the maintenance team when identifying parts. As well as the time and labour savings that have been made. The service has also helped the Heineken facility to make savings, through product rationalisation and supplier consolidation. 

Josh O’Connor, maintenance planner at Heineken, explained: “We approached Brammer as we needed to find a suitable way to free up the time of our maintenance team, as often, vast amounts of time were being spent on managing and procuring stock. Downtime in the facility is extremely costly, so we needed to make sure all our engineers were ready and available at any time to deal with issues.

“We have developed a good relationship with our Insite manager, and he has proven to be a valuable extension to our team – helping to streamline costs and also freeing up time for engineers so they can focus on the work they specialise in, which is maintaining and repairing equipment onsite.”

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