March 03, 2016
Manufacturing Your Favorite St. Patrick's Day Treats
March is officially here, and with it comes the promise of one of the world's most festive holidays: St. Patrick"s Day. As partygoers gear up for the holiday, those of us in the manufacturing industry are busy preparing for the big day, too.
Like all holidays, St. Patrick"s Day is not without its set of traditions. While these rituals might vary from person to person and household to household, there are some activities we can count on, chiefly a lot of beer-drinking and devouring of traditional Irish dishes.
Fragrant, hearty foods like shepherd's pie, corned beef, and delicious Irish soda bread grace the tables and menus of restaurants and dining rooms across the United States. You can be certain those tasty treats will be followed by a plethora of libations: think Guinness, Baileys, and, of course, Irish whiskey.
According to Consumer Reports, the beer that gets consumed on St. Paddy"s Day makes up 1 percent of all beer drank throughout the year. That equals out to nearly 530 million gallons or more than 4 billion pints. Given those numbers, you can imagine the amount of effort beer manufacturers must put into preparing for the holiday. In the weeks leading up to the Irish day of celebration, you can bet all hands are on deck maintaining equipment. Savvy maintenance managers no doubt stock up on plenty of spare parts and keep an extra-close eye on inventory, as there is plenty to lose if a machine breaks down or the plant suffers any downtime.
The same can be said for food manufacturers. More than 40 billion pounds of beef and 2.5 billion pounds of cabbage are produced for St. Patrick"s Day celebrations. Keeping all of that corned beef and cabbage fresh and flowing off of the production lines and out to stores and restaurants is no easy task. One spoiled batch can equate to not only a loss of profits but to a lot of not-so-smiling Irish eyes as well. Food contamination is a serious concern, and savvy facility managers will train employees as the ramp-up for holiday production begins.
Perhaps my favorite tradition for St. Patrick"s Day is the desire to pinch those who are not wearing green. The origins of this practice are hotly debated, but the most interesting story claims that wearing green would make you invisible to vicious leprechauns who delighted in pinching anyone in sight. Whatever the cause, millions of revelers don their Irish green on St. Paddy"s Day to avoid pinching fingers. This is good news for clothing manufacturers and novelty producers, who create such festive attire as green bowler caps and T-shirts with giant four-leaf clovers pasted across them.
No matter what sort of manufacturing plant you work in or run, one thing is clear: During the holidays, it is especially important to stay organized. One tool that can help you achieve this goal (among others) is a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). From tracking assets and inventory (all of that beer and cabbage) to issuing work orders and monitoring equipment performance, maintenance software can help you keep your facility up and running even at the busiest time.
And with a bit of the luck of the Irish, that will have your facility seeing green all the way to the bank!