Manufacturers have to get their products ready to ship when they’re needed. Creating the right numbers of items at the right time — on the factory floor, that’s mostly about throughput and reaching production goals.
For seasonal items, though, there’s an added layer of complexity. There may be a sales period of just a few months a year, but getting the product designed, produced, packed, and shipped without either having too much inventory or leaving the factory sitting idle is a year-long challenge. Poor forecasting or a problem in production can seriously affect a company’s cash flow.
Seasonality in consumer products can be tied to the calendar — Christmas tree ornaments, for example, are in demand only in the Christmas shopping season. They can also be tied to the weather; for example, ice cream is in higher demand in hot weather. Unfortunately, weather is not as easy to predict as Christmas. When the Rockies got a surprising foot of snow last week as people were making their Memorial Day plans, it probably put a lot of brands’ forecasts out of joint.
Seasonal products require flexibility and responsiveness — but there’s a limit to how flexible and responsive a manufacturer can be. In fact, there may be a lot of limiting factors all the way through the supply chain, and many of them are in the factory.
For one ice cream company, the solution was Rexroth IndraDrive, the new electric motion control systems corresponding to the legacy Indramat systems. As reported in the Rexroth company magazine, the IndraDrive servomotors are able to power the fastest ice cream packing machine in the world. Churning out 8,400 frozen treats an hour, the machine makes it easier for the ice cream makers to be responsive to market demand.
Whether you’re working with new Rexroth electric motion control or legacy Indramat components, we can help.