tna blog

Turnkey solutions and what they mean for food manufacturing

posted on 1 July, 2016 by

The concept of a “turnkey solution” has been around for a while. In fact nowadays, everyone seems to be offering systems, services or solutions that merely require you to “turn” the key and they’re ready to go. Whether it’s a build-to-order home, a new franchise business opportunity or an entire food manufacturing line, turnkey solutions span a wide range of industries and often include the design, manufacturing, commissioning and installation of equipment so it’s operational the second you turn the key.

With the concept of a turnkey solution spanning so many different industries, it’s worth taking a look at what it actually means for food manufacturers and dispel some of the myths that are still associated with the term.

To turn or not to turn?

For many food manufacturers, selecting a turnkey solutions provider for all their packaging and processing needs is a hassle-free way to manufacturing success. In particular as our industry is moving towards more automation – and it’s become a lot less about turning a key and a lot more about pressing the right buttons – ensuring that your equipment is set up correctly is more important than ever.

With a turnkey solutions provider you can be sure that every detail has been considered, no matter how small. Gone are the days of searching for the right technology, only to then find out that it won’t communicate with your existing equipment. From analysing your business needs to designing the technology to setting up your controls systems and training your staff, a turnkey solutions provider takes full responsibility for the entire project from start to finish.

Turnkey or tailored?

Some manufacturers still worry that by opting for a turnkey solution they will be provided with an “off-the-shelf” product that may not necessarily meet their needs. In reality, the opposite is true. Even though many solutions are sold as “plug and play” systems, each turnkey equipment will have undergone a serious amount of customisation and fine-tuning before it ends up on your factory floor to ensure the final setup meets your exact requirements.

Project management, in particular, plays a key role during this time. By analysing the customers’ needs, their existing assets and operational requirements, project managers will be able to develop a tailored solution that is on-time, on-budget and causes minimal disruption to the rest of the business. Pre-testing and pre-building a system offsite, for example, significantly reduces the risk of unexpected problems and delays during installation, ensuring that you end up with a pre-configured, completely customised solution – ready for you to turn the key.

Turnkey and beyond

A turnkey solutions provider’s job is never done. Once the system is up and running, it’s important to make sure it operates at the maximum level of performance at all times. Even the most reliable equipment will eventually require maintenance, re-tuning or upgrading. Plus, as food production equipment becomes increasingly sophisticated, a general knowledge of food engineering is no longer enough when it comes to technical maintenance and operation.

As a result, many full service turnkey solutions providers include after-sales technical support and training modules in their packages, so that every aspect of the machine that might need attention is covered. That way, you can be confident that you’ll end up with a system that will not only meet your current and future needs, but also a workforce that has the knowledge and expertise to maximise the full potential of your turnkey solution.

Stay tuned for the next blog in our turnkey series, in which we’ll be taking a closer look at project management and the benefits it can bring to your next project.

In the meantime, click here to find out how you can get more out of your turnkey solutions provider or download our white paper.