Hardworking individuals trained to make experience-based decisions are often tasked with identifying conveyor system issues and proposing critical changes to improve production, safety and efficiency. These projects typically require capital investments, and convincing management to earmark budgets for improvements requires supporting data, solid ROI projections, thoughtful persuasion and good timing.
“Collecting the proper data and presenting convincing arguments is almost an art form,” said Dan Marshall, process engineer at Martin Engineering. “The first few times you do it can be frustrating and tedious. But reviewing some of the company’s past proposals – including those that were rejected is always educational and working with the manufacturer of the proposed equipment can be helpful.”
Measuring performance requires data, so determining the most relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) is important. These measurements help create evidence for stakeholders so they can make informed budget decisions.
Martin Engineering has published a number of free on-demand Foundations webinars on its website, of which “Justifying Conveyor Improvements” is one.
It would be useful knowledge for anyone tasked with telling management why a given system is due for replacement. The webinar covers topics such as key performance indicators (KPI), both leading and lagging, as well as the types of KPIs common to bulk handling situations.
There are two types of KPIs, leading and lagging. Leading KPIs are those that indicate future problems which can cause expensive unscheduled downtime, such as mean time between failure (MTBF). Lagging KPIs are those that happen during or after downtime, such as reactive maintenance.
The next topic is how to make the case for upgrading. Operators need a good narrative, solid data, reasonable cost projections and a convincing return on investment (ROI). How to collect and present this data is critical. Photos and video bolster the narrative and help with visualization. Graphs are also invaluable, so plan KPIs with a clear X & Y axis that will reveal evident differences over time or costs per unit. A successful proposal will also offer a direct line to a solution and the next steps for implementation.
Martin Enginering also covers how to present a strong investment case and how to make the best financial decision on equipment. This webinar offers general calculations of net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR) to help with this endeavour.
Additional tips are offered on how to avoid half measures, successful project management, and how prioritizing safety justifies the cost of upgrading.
The transcript of the webinar also include references and detailed information.