Ninkasi Brewing Company is an Oregon craft beer powerhouse that puts out about 150,000 bbls of beer every year. The craft brewery has also recently expanded, contracting out its production lines to budding brewers and producers of canned cocktails, hard seltzers and other popular drink lines. Where can it go from here?
Well, how about doing the same great work, just much more efficiently?
Ninkasi is working with Australian manufacturing performance software company OFS to remove manual processes for its manufacturing team. Thus far, results show an increase of on-time-in-full (OTIF) orders from 40 percent to 94 percent as the brewery expands its production portfolio.
“When we were small, it was easier to keep up with production demand, but we reached a point of growth and diversity where we needed a new approach,” said Daniel Sharp, Director of Brewing Process Development, Ninkasi. “We were intrigued by the OEE [overall equipment effectiveness] standard, and carefully evaluated providers that could help us understand how we measured up.”
Ninkasi deployed OFS’ line performance software system, OFS-X, on its packaging line to provide real-time OEE data and insights into length of production, length of changeover, how well lines were performing, and how different shifts and crews were performing. This gave the brewery the data it needed to work out best practices and vastly improve its operations.
“Prior to OFS, we often had three or four changes to our production schedule a day, an issue OFS identified was usually caused by a packaging delay. It was wreaking havoc on our entire team and our ability to do what we love – make great beer. Now, we’re down to about five schedule changes per week. We’re using data to assign uptime and run rates for different packages on a crew-by-crew basis, leading to new best practices being discovered.”
“When brewers get to the stage of needing a rotary filler, you often see production go from 40-to-50 cans or bottles per minute, to closer to 250,” he said. “If you miss even a minute, that’s a lot of beer you haven’t made. Data and the technology OFS provides will be increasingly important to helping brewers get to that next stage and make beer as efficiently and sustainably as possible.”
Ninkasi is now considering OFS Flow to help remove paper forms and digitize manual processes. The craft brewery is also aiming to use data to reduce the level of aluminum that gets wasted as part of its sustainability initiatives.
“Beer has a great seasonality to it too,” said Sharp. “The data is easy to pull and keeps us ahead of the game when it comes to ramping up or ramping down. We’re prepared for what’s in front of us now.”