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Unprecedented energy costs and supply constraints together with high rates inflation are putting undue pressure on many food and drink manufacturers. These factors are challenging plans and budgets, and many manufacturers don’t have the resources to invest fully in energy and process optimisation. 

How manufacturing businesses respond to external influences such as these can define success or failure. Any newfound confidence that’s come from the economic recovery from the pandemic has been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine. So facilities and resources are already stretched.

Pressure on operations 

With an immediate need to increase capacity, or to flex production, pressure on operations is at an all-time high. While this offers a great opportunity to grow, a shortage of goods is driving up inflation. The approach and the speed at which businesses respond will likely determine if contracts are secured and delivered (or not).

Now is the time to challenge the ‘more of the same’ mentality when facilities are being upgraded or built. Arguably when facilities grow this is the optimum, and often only time, that capital is available to invest. Only a few years ago heat recovery was considered by many as an optional extra and large scale onsite energy generation was seldom considered. Now these are both viable, and sometime essential, either securing a return, or enabling otherwise constrained projects to be realised. 

There is plenty of commentary about the role of energy with respect to carbon reduction (Net Zero, CDP), energy legislation (SECR, ESOS) and energy management. This focuses on two areas; measuring and acting on waste and determining and reducing negative impacts, or better still having positive impacts on the supply chain. Much of this waste, or rather opportunity, stems from the initial design of products, the facility that makes them, and people’s habits and behaviours.