Smooth operation of a winery is critical to its long term success.
By Erin Ouellette
Wineries rely on a variety of equipment in their daily operations — equipment that needs to run smoothly for the business to continue to run smoothly. Regular, preventive maintenance is an important (but often overlooked) part of owning equipment. From irrigation systems to tractors, a systematic approach to maintenance should be developed, including tasks to be performed on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Neglecting required maintenance results in equipment breakdowns and production stoppages. On the other hand, preventive maintenance will control costs, manage assets as your business scales, improve safety and compliance, and optimize resource allocation — all while driving long-term success and contributing to the bottom line.
Equipment breakdowns will (inevitably) occur, often causing damage to the machine and loss of production. Regular preventive maintenance lets you proactively identify and address potential equipment failures before they occur. Properly maintained equipment will have a longer lifespan, and money will be saved in replacement equipment costs each year. Regular maintenance ensures equipment operates at optimal levels, which leads to reduced energy consumption and lower operating costs. It also prevents production stoppages, which can result in decreased quality and lost revenues. Proactive scheduling of maintenance means work can be streamlined. Idle time is reduced and more tasks can be completed in less time, saving money on labor costs. The end result is higher customer satisfaction, excellent product quality and costs kept in check. Performing preventive maintenance does cost money in labor and parts. However, it’s far less costly than the alternative.
Manage Your Assets as the Business Scales
As your business grows and the amount of equipment necessary for operations expands, the importance of preventive maintenance becomes greater. Equipment performance can be maximized through performing scheduled maintenance such as regular inspections, lubrication, cleaning and component replacements. Equipment that operates at peak performance experiences less wear and tear, thus maintenance will expand the lifespan of the assets. Premature replacement of equipment can be avoided and funds saved can be allocated toward further expanding production capabilities.
Another consideration, as your winery scales, is that the more equipment you acquire the more difficult it is to track what maintenance has been completed and what remains to be done. The larger your maintenance department becomes, the more challenging it is to manage. Poorly managed maintenance departments cost a lot of money.
Many wineries use Old School methods such as spreadsheets — or even white boards — to manage their equipment maintenance. It’s impossible to scale effectively using these outdated tools. Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) can help manage your entire maintenance department. It manages and automatically schedules preventive maintenance on all of your equipment. It also manages corrective work orders and tracks spare parts inventory so that you have the parts you need when you need them. A record of all maintenance performed is kept as Work Order History. Historical data can be used for future reference. Implementing a CMMS can help your winery to complete preventive maintenance consistently and on time.
Improve Safety and Compliance
Wineries have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees. They also must comply with industry regulations to ensure their products are safe for consumers. Preventive maintenance software facilitates the development and enforcement of safety protocols for all aspects of winery operations including harvesting, production, bottling and storage. Properly functioning equipment reduces the risk of accidents and injuries. It also reduces the risk of broken parts or other foreign bodies contaminating finished products. Regularly scheduled inspections and preventive maintenance ensure equipment is in safe working condition. Improved safety conditions minimize the risk of accidents and recalls, saving valuable resources and maximizing quality.
Optimize Resource Allocation
Efficient resource allocation is essential for a growing winery. With resources more scarce than ever, it is critical to allocate them as efficiently as possible. Preventive maintenance plays a vital role in achieving this by systematically scheduling all of your maintenance activities. Scheduled tasks simplify the process of allocating manpower, spare parts and other resources. A greatly reduced need for reactive maintenance reduces costs and hassle associated with emergency repairs such as out of stock parts, overnight freight and unplanned downtime. Additionally, inventory management can be streamlined by accurately forecasting and procuring necessary spare parts in advance of work being done.
Performing on-time preventive maintenance will keep your equipment running at peak efficiency, substantially cutting your maintenance costs and saving valuable time. Product output levels and quality will improve, resulting in higher profits and customer satisfaction.
Erin Ouellette is a product manager at COGZ Systems (www.cogz.com). COGZ is a leading provider of comprehensive CMMS Software that’s easy to use and drives bottom line results.