When you’re an independent company, reliability is everything. Unexpected downtime can hurt your profitability – and your reputation.
Broxburn Bottlers Ltd is a leading independent bottling company, producing more than 50 million bottles each year for global drinks brands including Diageo, Ian Macleod Distillers, J&G Grant, John Dewar & Sons (Bacardi), and William Grant & Sons.
To maximise production at its plant near Edinburgh, Scotland, Broxburn Bottlers invested in ShireSystem maintenance and facilities software by Elecosoft.
In a few short months, ShireSystem has given the company accurate, measurable data to understand its maintenance scope, and liberated its engineers to speed up response times and manage their own schedule. Both of which are essential to improving asset performance.
Adopting a smoother approach to maintenance
Broxburn Bottlers is trusted to bottle some of the world’s best-known branded spirits, including Glengoyne, Tamdhu, Glenfarclas and Johnnie Walker whiskies, and Edinburgh Gin. With several third party customers on its roster, the company needs flexibility to manage multiple job types, including small volumes – making 10-20 changeovers across its production lines each day.
Machine reliability is paramount to Broxburn Bottlers’ bottom line, but up until 2020, the computerised software it was using to manage maintenance programmes was temperamental and difficult to use.
“Our previous system became very clunky, and we couldn’t input as much detail as we wanted,” explains Bill Richards, Engineering Manager, Broxburn Bottlers Ltd. “It also took a lot of IT support to maintain. We wanted to move towards software that was more reliable and user-friendly.”
The turning point for new investment coincided with Broxburn Bottlers going through an Asset Management Information Service (AMIS) audit. This reinforced the importance of having a solution that would ensure its production equipment was maintained to a good standard and available for operation at all times.
“We wanted software that could capture everything that our engineers are working on – from breakdowns and changeovers to training and maintenance – and give accurate information on how efficiently our business is running,” Bill added.
A short and successful implementation
Broxburn Bottlers was introduced to ShireSystem by Colin Towler, a manufacturing health and safety consultant who has great experience with the software.
“ShireSystem wasn’t actually on our shortlist until Colin gave us a quick demonstration and showed us how easy it was to use,” Bill admits. “When asset performance is critical to your business, you don’t want software where maintenance is an afterthought.”
“We liked the fact that ShireSystem is built for purpose and could channel all our data through one solution, making it easier to keep up with compliance.”
Broxburn Bottlers selected ShireSystem in Autumn 2020, choosing a hosted version of the software to take running and maintenance responsibilities off its IT department’s shoulders.
Within 3 months, all the company’s assets had been identified on the software and online documentation configured, and it was using ShireSystem to manage core maintenance data including production equipment, forklifts, checklists, inspections and plans.
“It was a really short and successful implementation,” shares Colin Towler. “The engineers grasped the software very quickly, and we created crib sheets to keep them on track. It’s much easier to get to grips with than some of the maximal systems on the market.”
“It helps that the software isn’t owned by the IT department. Everyone is getting value from it,” Bill adds.
“Through ShireSystem, we can understand what we’re spending our time on and whether that use of time is productive. And we can see exactly what our engineering requirements are – from how much reactive work we’re doing versus proactive maintenance, to how much time the team are spending on changeovers.”
Putting workload in the palm of engineers’ hands
One of the greatest early successes has been Broxburn Bottlers’ integration of maintenance data and company mobile devices, using ShireSystem’s Mobile Pro app. Previously, all work orders were logged through PC terminals, before paper copies were printed and handed out to engineers each shift. Now, engineers can digitally access real-time facilities data when they’re out in the field.
“The Mobile Pro app has given a lot of ownership to our engineers, as they can see everything that needs attention and get more involved in the process,” Bill shares. “Maintenance is now far better documented, and we’ve got a much clearer vision of what’s happening at any point in time.”
Going mobile has delivered dual efficiencies to Broxburn Bottlers’ operation. The flexible format speeds up maintenance response times, while digitising the process has reduced admin; engineers no longer have to sign off paper job forms and hand them back in to be updated on the computer.
“We’re still at the beginning of our ShireSystem journey, but we want to make a real step change – moving away from reactive engineering to more planned maintenance work.”
Using data to drive improvement
Broxburn Bottlers has big plans for expanding its use of ShireSystem, starting with using the software’s Work Requester module to integrate and coordinate all work orders.
“Getting diverse maintenance data from multiple production lines is helping us to understand the scope of work for our engineers,” Bill explains.
“As the stability of our assets increase, we want to open up ShireSystem to maintenance requests from anyone in the business – but we’re starting slow, so that we’re not flooded with a huge influx of jobs!”
In order to accurately measure stability and performance, Broxburn Bottlers is in the process of defining a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which it will track and analyse using ShireSystem.
It has already put some of these KPIs into the software – including the number of hours engineers are booked versus their total available hours, reactive versus planned maintenance, and planned runtime versus unplanned maintenance work.
“We’re targeting 80 per cent booked versus 20 per cent available hours in our engineering team, and at least 40% planned maintenance in their workload. However, we want to make sure that all our targets are based on accurate data before expanding our KPIs,” Bill advises.
“There’s a lot more we’ll be able to track in ShireSystem going forward – machine failure rates and average engineer response times are definitely on our radar. We’re talking to our team about what metrics they would like to track and report on.”
All the data Broxburn Bottlers measures is delivered via a digital dashboard, with graphs and charts to make statistics easy to interpret. And the fact that all staff are accessing centralised information means that everyone is looking at a single version of the truth; there’s no duplication of data, or entering the latest KPI figures to different spreadsheets.
“It’s a very visual solution, which is great,” Bill praises.
“And the more information that flows through ShireSystem, the more we can drive improvements in response times, reliability and production.”
The perfect software for engineering and maintenance
It’s early days for Broxburn Bottlers and ShireSystem, but already the company is seeing the benefits of an integrated, digital approach to maintenance and facilities management.
More importantly, Broxburn Bottlers can see the full potential of ShireSystem – and is working collaboratively with its team to embed the software in company culture and improve asset performance.
“We’re already seeing so many jobs that ShireSystem can help us with,” Bill concludes. “It’s the perfect software for any company, large or small, with engineering and maintenance requirements.”
Improve maintenance, extend asset life, cut costs and enhance compliance: book a free demo to explore ShireSystem by Elecosoft.