Fonterra enhances pre-season preparation

A single-minded focus on effectiveness, efficiency and innovation across all aspects of Fonterra’s winter maintenance programme is delivering savings for the New Zealand Co-operative as it gets match-fit for spring.

Director of NZ Manufacturing Mark Leslie said this “winter shut” period is an important time of year for manufacturing teams as all assets across Fonterra’s network of sites are fine-tuned to ensure they are ready for the season ahead.

“Each year we process around 18 billion litres of milk, with the bulk of this carried out in the spring months. The work we’re doing now will help us get match-fit for that peak period.”

Mr Leslie says the goal for manufacturing teams in this year’s winter shut has been finding more effective and efficient ways to maintain sites for the coming season.

“Together, Fonterra and industry are focused on ensuring we can produce quality product for our customers and support farmers under a constrained milk price.

“We have always been efficient in our maintenance projects, so the challenge this year was to come up with new and innovative ways to do things better, faster and smarter.”

Hundreds of Fonterra manufacturing site staff are taking part in the annual winter work, with more than 500 projects currently underway around the country, ranging from major capital works to minor overhauls.

Winter Shutdown Manager at Te Rapa Blair Bond puts the improvements down to an ongoing “owner’s mindset” across the manufacturing teams.

“Every person on our team is on the same page. We treat the assets as if we were their owners – putting ourselves in our farmers’ shoes and thinking about how we can do things more effectively and drop our bottom line.”

This work during the winter shut has also led to innovative thinking that will change the way we process milk during the milking season.

Mr Bond gives the example of our D4 evaporator – which evaporates water out of the milk to then be turned into powder. The team came up with an innovative way of splitting the process into stages, which will allow the evaporator to run 6 per cent longer meaning more milk can be processed each day.

Mr Bond adds: “It’s year-round for us. Throughout the entire year we’re talking to other sites about what worked for them and leveraging our collective strength to help our Co-operative deliver.”

He explains the Te Rapa team has adopted a year-round asset care approach for the maintenance and servicing of equipment.

“Constant monitoring of our equipment to ensure it’s always in top nick means we’re saving time and money during our winter shut – something our farmers will appreciate.”

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