The food and beverage industry is a very large sector and common requirements and issues weigh on all the companies that are part of it. The quality and hygiene standards to which they are subject make the adoption of a CMMS a must, in order to manage the maintenance of production tools.
Computerized maintenance management systems allow food and beverage companies to meet the regulatory standards that apply to the maintenance of tools and machines involved in the food production. But each software is unique and it is therefore important to choose a CMMS software that is efficient, cost-effective and adapted to the food and beverage industry.
Maintenance in the food and beverage industry
In terms of maintenance, the specificities of the food and beverage industry lie in the characteristics of the manufactured products, which are perishable and generally made for human consumption.
The stakes of maintenance in the food and beverage industry
All machines of a factory are confronted with the same issue, whatever product they produce (dairy products, prepared dishes, drinks, frozen food, oils…). They systematically have to:
- meet the health standards by guaranteeing hygiene, safety and traceability;
- minimize production shutdowns, that mean losses, because of the perishability of raw materials and products;
- apply best practices in processes, quality organization and risk control;
- provide the necessary elements for IFS/BRC audit reports.
Food safety standards
In most cases, standards for hygiene in the food industry are developed by national or international bodies, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). They are of great importance because they enable factories to consistently produce healthy food in compliance with the legislation.
Among these standards is the IFS Food (International Food Standard) certification, which is the essential prerequisite for access to French, German and Italian mass distribution. This is a common food safety standard, with a uniform evaluation system established to qualify and select suppliers. In particular, it enables retailers to ensure the safety of their food products and to monitor the quality level of suppliers of products bearing the private label, thereby reducing their own auditing requirements. This standard is often seen as a “ticket” to retailers for suppliers. It is an opportunity for suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to safety, quality, compliance and continuous improvement.
Another example is the ISO 22000 standard for food safety management. It requires the entire food industry to use the HACCP method (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) to ensure food hygiene. The 7 HACCP principles, agreed to by most government agencies, professional associations and food companies around the world, are as follows:
- Conduct a hazard analysis and identify control measures.
- Determine Critical Control Points (CCPs).
- Establish critical limits.
- Establish monitoring procedures.
- Establish the corrective actions to be taken when monitoring results indicate that a deviation from a critical limit at a CCP has occurred.
- Validate the HACCP plan and then establish verification procedures to confirm that the HACCP system is working as intended.
- Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures.
These principles show the importance of traceability and the follow-up of each action carried out during the production process.
Mobility Work is provided with an analytic tool to help you analyze all your maintenance data and adapt your strategy
Maintenance and food safety
To guarantee food safety, it is essential that the equipment is designed and installed in such a way that maintenance operations are carried out efficiently. But it is also necessary to ensure that they are always in good condition and that they do not have negative effects on the safety of the food produced.
This includes a mandatory preventive maintenance plan, that has to be applied to all critical equipment, in order to respect the safety, the legality and the quality of the products. This plan must be based on a risk assessment of each maintenance operation. For example, the calibration and control of food safety monitoring systems such as a pasteurization thermometer or a metal detector, are critical elements.
A maintenance plan must determine the tasks of each person involved, the processes and the frequency of application. It must also be regularly documented in order to be up to date about the gained knowledge and experience about the equipment. The general principle is to favor a preventive strategy, which allows maintenance technicians to plan the interventions, rather than corrective maintenance strategy, which is totally unpredictable and with potentially serious consequences in terms of food safety.
Mobility Work CMMS allows operators and technicians to be autonomous: task creation, maintenance plans, notifications for every new activity…
CMMS software and food and beverage industry
In order to meet traceability and quality requirements imposed by most food industry standards, CMMS solutions appear to be an essential tool.
CMMS and intervention history
The IFS audit, an essential step in order to access mass distribution in France, Germany and Italy, applies not only to stocks but also to maintenance operations carried out. Any food-processing factory subject to this standard must therefore be able to present a history of all the maintenance operations carried out via its production tools.
CMMS software make it possible to present traceability and history, where a simple spreadsheet can be questioned by the auditor because it can be modified. It is therefore clearly preferable to have a CMMS tool to meet the IFS standard.
The benefits of a CMMS solution
CMMS is a particularly valuable maintenance tool in the food industry. A sector-adapted solution has multiple benefits:
- it can efficiently plan maintenance interventions, in order to reduce the risk of breakdowns and therefore production shutdowns, and to increase productivity and competitiveness;
- it is centralized in a single baseline, which allows a precise description of all the equipment on the production line and of all interventions, in compliance with procedures;
- it can follow up and trace spare parts stocks;
- it helps reduce breakdown rates thanks to the monitoring and analysis of the evolution of a machine or a component, which enables interventions to be planned at the most appropriate time.
However, traditional CMMS software have significant drawbacks that discourage many companies from using them. They are often very heavy, both economically and technically, and complicated to use, which implies significant training needs, leading to a feeling of demotivation within the teams. This is why more and more companies in the food industry are turning to 4.0 CMMS solutions.
The benefits of a 4.0 CMMS in the food and beverage industry
Next-gen CMMS solutions such as Mobility Work represent a major breakthrough for maintenance in the food industry. The first advantage of this type of application is to be mobile. Thus, information and reports of maintenance interventions can be captured in real time and from anywhere on a smartphone or tablet. This allows you to benefit from a complete follow-up and history, which can be useful in order to meet obligatory standards, especially during an audit.
In addition, the extended functions and the use of Big Data offered by the Mobility Work application gives its users the possibility of using precise and detailed indicators, based on the analysis of their own machines but also of all similar machines used by other members of the community. This represents a valuable decision-making aid for management, particularly if the company wishes to implement a preventive maintenance strategy, enabling them to have better control, to optimize costs, to reduce capital expenditure and to develop performance improvement plans.
Finally, this CMMS solution was designed on the model of everyday applications. It is therefore particularly easy to use, meaning that companies do not need to organize long training sessions during the deployment phase in factories. In addition, it generates strong support from maintenance teams for the new tool, making management more fluid and improving the quality of the information recorded.
If CMMS software seem indispensable today for any food and beverage company wishing to comply with the main standards in force while remaining competitive, choosing the right IT solution is almost as important. Using a next-gen CMMS solution allows you to be better prepared for audits while constantly improving maintenance processes and gathering teams around common objectives.