Unearthing the root causes of unexpected downtime helps identify and justify capital investments to enhance productivity and bolster yield in the long run. Cleveland-based Orlando Baking, for instance, is harnessing its data to develop a potential shopping list for the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), which will be held Sept. 7-11 in Las Vegas.

“OEE tells us about our overall equipment effectiveness, and where we should expand,” noted Ken Stiffler, director of operations. “If we needed to expand production in our plant, it allows us to focus in on how to do that to free up more space and time.”

For identifying specific investments, Rowdy Brixey, president, BEST: Brixey Engineering Strategies & Training. recommended using a capacity report that pinpoints bottlenecks by calculating the maximum run rate on each piece of major equipment to discover the lowest limiting factor for each product variety or pan. Capital projects with significant returns often come from replacing one piece of equipment or a couple of assets that drastically limit the line’s throughout by performing well below that of many other machines.

“The capacity report and bottleneck findings can lead you to a strong understanding of whether you need to replace select assets or the entire line,” Mr. Brixey explained. “Having this report completed in advance of IBIE can help you maximize how you spend your time while in ‘the land of plenty.’”

Additionally, bakers should consider the service, maintenance, sanitation and other variables calculated into the total cost of ownership along with the price of it in their purchasing decisions. A little research goes a long way in planning for this year’s big event for the baking industry.