In the short-season produce business, lost day or even weeks can equal a significant amount of lost potential revenue, meaning having processing machinery in tip-top shape is absolutely essential to having an effective campaign and avoiding costly downtime. Alberto Cavalieri, JBT’s Parma, Italy-based Customer Care Manager for Diversified Food & Health explains why JBT’s PRoCARE preventative maintenance programs can often be a crucial factor towards having a successful produce processing season:
When it comes to managing fruit and vegetable processing lines, customers are actually aware that they are working against the clock and have to get the most out of what are often very short annual campaigns. Here in Parma, we supply cleaning solutions, extraction, concentration equipment, aseptic filling for customers working with tomatoes, citrus and vegetables. These are very much seasonal businesses, and in the case of tomatoes, in most regions it only runs to around 50 days. The same is for citrus although the season is longer, running from November to April in the northern hemisphere.
When you are working during the season, you can’t lose even one hour, especially when you have a short season like tomatoes. And this is true of all seasonal production, even for citrus where you have a longer campaign, so it’s very important for customers to have the best equipment available because with seasonal production, time and machine availability is even more important.
Top performance levels
The PRoCARE contract that we offer to customers is aimed at maintaining machinery at optimal conditions, allowing them to face the season without problems. Our PRoCARE consists of visits during the season, but more importantly a complete overhaul before the season begins. For example in the northern hemisphere, for tomatoes this would take place in June, and for citrus in August or September, which allows us to ensure that equipment retains top performance levels during the months ahead.
We also offer production assistance. Where you have a very short campaign, customers appreciate this assistance because in some cases, the seasons can be so short that it can be difficult to train new operators and maintenance people. With PRoCARE, we also offer packages or bundles of hours where can provide remote assistance assessments during the campaign. This means it’s not always necessary to jump on a flight and deal with overseas travel because we can remotely connect to equipment and assess the machines directly from the JBT office.
Especially for seasonal customers, downtime is something they have to avoid. Of course, maximizing uptime is important for all customers, but if you are only working 50 days per year, avoiding downtime becomes even more crucial. If you lose one or two days, you can maybe recover, but if you only have a 50-day tomato season and you lose a whole week, it’s already 20% of your campaign, which is dramatic.
But more than seasonal visits, we carry out seasonal maintenance, which is key to having machinery up-and-running because after the season, the machinery stops. So it’s like a car taking part in a race: you take part in the race, then it is stored in the garage for up to six months. Then before the next race – which is a one-shot and very short – you have to carry out maintenance to make sure it is ready to go. This leaves the machinery in much better shape for the season ahead.