More than 900 Fonterra manufacturing sites staff are taking part in New Zealand’s biggest annual winter maintenance spruce-up ensuring everything is in good shape for the season ahead.
Many of Fonterra’s 27 sites around the country have closed shop and are getting scrubbed up over ten weeks, as milk flows have dropped off, allowing maintenance to take place.
Brent Taylor, Director of NZ Operations, says the Co-operative undertakes maintenance every year to keep the sites match-fit to seamlessly process more than 17 billion litres of milk annually.
“Typically we produce around 2.4 million metric tonnes of product a season, running our driers, at times, at full capacity. To sustain and grow these production levels we have to maintain our equipment to the highest standards.
“Winter maintenance is all about getting off to a good start for the next season. It ensures that we continue to meet the demand from our customers and deliver our products on time.” Trevor Bell, Maintenance Co-ordinator at Te Rapa, says the work Fonterra does during this period sets the tone for the following season. “Winter maintenance is our opportunity to set up the plant for the season ahead so it can run at maximum efficiency without unforeseen downtime which can cost us in lost production. Thorough maintenance also allows us to extend the life of our equipment.”
This year more than $70 million is being spent on maintenance around New Zealand, with the majority going to the Co-operative’s high capacity sites Whareroa (Taranaki), Edendale (Southland), Clandeboye (Southland) and Te Rapa (Waikato).
To get the job done, more than 170 companies, big and small from around the country, will work together employing more than 620 contract staff from around New Zealand. The work undertaken during winter maintenance will range from major capital works to minor valve and floor repairs. Mr Taylor says that all staff or contractors that work on Fonterra’s sites receive a safety induction to ensure they feel safe carrying out their work.
“Safety is our highest priority at Fonterra and we take every step to ensure everyone who works on site returns safely home at the end of each day,” says Mr Taylor.