While working as the Plant Manager in an egg processing facility, I identified the opportunity to increase the efficiency of the facility and reduce the operating costs. The facility had four processing lines for breaking eggs each requiring labor, chemicals and maintenance to operate them. Through discussions with the processing team, we identified a single high capacity production line that we could transfer to the plant to replace the four existing breaking lines. Installing this line would reduce our labor and operating costs and increase our yield.
Limited Conversion Time
The biggest challenge with the conversion was the raw materials: the chickens don’t stop laying the eggs destined for our plant! We had a small window of time before we would be in a position where we would be taking a loss on the eggs produced by our farms. Thorough planning before the conversion allowed us to convert the facility in one week which minimized the impact on our egg supply locations. The team I set up included production, maintenance, sanitation and logistics employees. We were able to remove the old production line, make improvements to the facility, install the new equipment and commission the line with a USDA sign off to begin production. During the last night of the conversion, I slept in one of our semi tractor sleeper beds in order to minimize my time away from the plant on that last night.
The conversion of the plant resulted in a positive impact to our operations. We were successful in reducing our labor and operating costs and increased our yield. In addition, we identified additional benefits we had not planned on. Our plant was cleaner due to the changes we made to the facility and equipment during the installation. Our equipment maintenance costs of equipment not directly related to the production line went down as well due to the way the new equipment functioned compared to the old equipment. We used the improvements made during the conversion to assist the other facilities in reducing their costs as well.