AG Barr has generated ‘significant’ savings at its Milton Keynes factory from an operator-led asset management training programme it plans to roll out to all of its plants.

The maker of drinks such as Irn Bru and Rubicon is working with MCP Consulting Group on the scheme. AG Barr’s continuous improvement manager Ian Gibson said the plant, which opened four years ago, was already ahead of schedule on the programme that launched just over two years ago.

“Within five years we want to achieve world-class status,” Gibson told Food Manufacture. He was referring to the highest-scoring tier in MCP’s Asset Management Improvement Service assessment.

The approach looks at all aspects of the production cycle. Gibson would not be drawn on the precise financial benefits of the programme to date, but said: “We have achieved significant savings.”

For example, helped by the training, one line operator introduced an initiative that cut waste on one line. The team has now been tasked with instructing other line operators on how to achieve similar savings.

The intention is for all 88 technical operators and team leaders at Milton Keynes to complete the programme, which encourages them, rather than engineers, to carry out routine preventative maintenance. Technical operators are given their own toolkit on completion of the programme.

The Milton Keynes facility now hosts six production lines. They include one line capable of processing 120,000 cans a minute, one polyethene terephthalate line that can handle 42,000 bottles an hour and four carton lines of varying capacities. • March 2018 • FOOD manufacture