Wilkin & Sons: improving production and reducing manufacturing costs

Consultus technical and consulting expertise is helping this world-class manufacturer focus on key issues including energy consumption and regulatory compliance, with actionable advice helping the company to improve production processes, achieve greater efficiencies and reduce costs.

Background

Wilkin & Sons Limited is part of a select group of companies that can point to over a century of manufacturing. Its leading brand is Tiptree, the world-famous range of jams and preserves that received its first Royal Warrant in 1911. Its products are sold in 60 countries worldwide. 2020 sees Wilkin & Sons celebrate 135 years of manufacturing at its main factory site in Essex, which produces more than 50,000 jars of jam and other fruit preserves every day. For almost a decade, the company has worked with Consultus, drawing on its expertise to help the business across various brands including Tiptree, Cole’s Puddings and Tiptree Patisserie.

“We have a strong ongoing relationship with Wilkin & Sons, founded on the measurable value we deliver to the business,” says Steve Edge, Energy & Sustainability Manager, Consultus. “The company takes energy efficiency and its commitments to carbon reduction and smarter manufacturing seriously. Our job is to help it work more efficiently across the piece, regardless of the complexity involved.”

 

Challenges and solutions: from tender and supply to consumption and carbon

In addition to implementing a detailed energy monitoring system to assess usage of the major forms of energy that are used across the factory site, Consultus reviews and assesses ongoing changes to water, gas and electricity consumption. This includes monthly ‘sense checks’ and tracking annual performance whilst querying the improvements of reductions in performance.

Crucially, the Consultus team competitively tenders for Wilkin & Sons’ electricity and gas supplies and provides detailed guidance to ensure the company never pays more for its energy and utilities than it should.

In terms of supply and demand, and ensuring the business has the power it needs without incurring penalties, Consultus assesses the site’s performance against Available Supply Capacity (ASC) limits and estimates any costs incurred by going over those limits. The team also recommends methods to either reduce energy demand or ways to supplement energy supply to the site, so minimising the risks of breaching ASC limits.

“In addition, we perform ongoing assessments of new technologies and systems, considering how these products or systems might benefit Wilkin & Sons main site and proposing new energy and cost-saving projects that extend beyond the factory to the company’s tea rooms,” Edge says. As well as developing potential ideas for energy and cost saving, identifying areas for further scrutiny, Consultus has carried out an energy performance analysis of all vehicles in the company’s fleet to identify the most and least efficient.

 

Climate Change Agreement: performance and analytics

To help meet industry targets to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emission, and support the discounts possible under the Climate Change Agreement levy, Consultus experts perform long-term trend analysis, acting as records keepers and providing independent verification of performance and results. This includes comparing the ongoing performance of the factory site against previous years and assessing performance against both the same point last year and months of similar historic production.

Consultus also carried out the 70/30 assessment to assess whether the full factory site could receive Climate Change Levy discounts, or if only certain production areas could get a discount, as well as producing the official forms required to receive an exemption from Climate Change Levy costs on gas and electricity.

“We advise on current CCA performance and the risk and extent of any carbon savings or excess carbon emissions,” Edge adds. “This work includes estimating the value of carbon emissions beyond the target threshold and the value of banked carbon, assessing the value of CCA discounts to energy costs and carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of any buyouts against cost savings and the value of any banked carbon.”

 

Energy audit: reducing energy costs by 20%

In an earlier project, Consultus conducted a two-day energy audit of Wilkin & Sons’ main site, associated buildings and offices to identify possible energy savings. This survey explored all aspects of energy usage, from staff awareness to mechanical fan controls, pipe work insulation and lighting efficiency. The findings were compiled into a report that included more than 80 recommendations, each with calculations showing estimated existing energy use, proposed future use, budget estimate capital cost and payback periods.

This audit presented feasible energy savings of more than 2,200,000 kWh annually, equivalent to 720,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide. This represented almost 20% of the site’s entire energy use. The average payback period for the recommendations made was less than two years. The Consultus team presented the report and its findings to company directors and senior managers and provided a staff awareness campaign for departmental managers.

During the audit process, staff including energy managers, site facilities engineers, production and office personnel provided insights into “how, when and why” energy was used, and their own attitudes to site energy, usage and wastage. With the report divided into clear categories such as Lighting, Air Conditioning, Ventilation Equipment, Heating and Hot Water, Insulation, Variable Speed Drives, Maintenance Items and Staff Awareness, a summary calculation sheet also enabled the input of real-world data and actual savings as and when the recommended initiatives were undertaken.

 

Specialist support and projects

In addition to carrying out mandatory energy audits and providing qualified Lead Assessor verification of data analysis, energy audits, reports and recommendations, Consultus provides specialist support for site staff when carrying out projects to ensure any works consider the impacts on key issues including comfort, energy consumption and Climate Change Agreement performance. Edge says, “We support site engineers when carrying out new projects by independently reviewing proposed savings or costs associated with energy saving projects.

 

Outcomes: making manufacturing processes more efficient

“We are proud to have a long-term relationship with Wilkin & Sons,” Edge continues. “We work across multiple areas of the business, regularly assessing how processes can be made more efficient without changing the nature of a production process and never impacting on product quality.

“Over the years, we’ve become very familiar with the history, production processes, properties and working methods of the Tiptree factory site. This means we can assess and advise on new and more innovative ways to make buildings more energy efficient, in terms of both construction and building services, across heating, lighting, ventilation, hot water, cooling, and so on. For example, our building services design team advised on the company’s visitor centre project, helping to promote best practice whilst providing long-term value.

“We can make recommendations for change and actively guide projects by taking a long-view consideration of technologies, government policies and the wider energy system—to ensure projects not only take into account the initial value but, more critically, the longer-term value and impacts on energy consumption, energy efficiency, lifetime costs and carbon emissions. Wilkins & Sons expects nothing less from us.”

 

“We work across multiple areas of the business, regularly assessing how processes can be made more efficient without changing the nature of a production process and never impacting on product quality.”

Consultus Group, Energy & Sustainability Manager Steve Edge

 

« Back to Insights

Related Insights