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THE young, dynamic duo of Joel van der Schyff and Wesley John has a combined 14 years’ mechanical and electrical experience, including design, manufacturing, fitting and turning, project management, turnkey solutions, factory layout and machine installation and commissioning.  The number of new machines they’ve manufactured for the food, beverage, and allied industries (see Feb12, p86) under their belts, Joel and Wesley are now well on their way with the development of their maintenance division. At Cape Herb & Spice, a Cape Town-based producer of high-quality herb and spice products, MachMan supplies an on-going preventative maintenance program, which founders Joel and Wesley believe is the first of its kind in South Africa.


Founded by Irene Ivy, Cape Herb & Spice began life in 1992, operating from a wheelbarrow at the V&A Waterfront. Today, the company is owned by Liberty Star Consumer Holdings. Over the years, the Cape Herb & Spice has shifted to primarily producing private­label products for export, while 30% is produced for local retailers and for Cape Herb & Spice’s own label brand.


Regarded as a global leader in the herb and spice industry, Cape Herb & Spice’s facilities are custom built and fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. Its technology is managed according to international food safety standards and is certified to the highest level on an annual basis. Furthermore, its facilities are regularly audited by several of its private-label customers and certified audit bodies such as SGS, BRC, and IFS.

Enter MachMan


Working to stringent quality and safety standards, and producing no less than 4 500 SKU (stock keeping unit)’s in its range – usually around 1 800 SKUs/year – quality and efficiency at Cape Herb & Spice need to be kept at optimum levels. ‘Since agreeing on a preventative maintenance contract with MachMan, our machine breakdowns are drastically reduced and major breakdowns have completely ceased,’ explains Cape Herb & Spice’s operations manager, Pierre Lloyd.


Preventative maintenance


So how is this possible? Most retailers require their suppliers to provide proof of their preventative maintenance plans, which are checked during regular audits. Joel believes that many companies’ maintenance departments are either too small or are non-existent, creating a weak point in production environments. Working closely with Pierre, MachMan has developed a plan for Cape Herb & Spice to eliminate any weaknesses.


‘Our preventative maintenance retainer takes the stress away from customers,’ Joel explains. ‘We offer a six-month (plus) service where we schedule regular visits to carry out equipment checks, cleaning, lubrication, and repairs.’ Each customer has a dedicated file-based on BRC, IFS, and/or HACCP standard requirements – that contains schedules for maintenance, information on work done, upgrades completed, and an inventory of tools, spares, and lubricants used.


At the start of a contract we sit down with our customers to develop an asset register from which we develop a maintenance schedule,’ Joel adds. At the end of the contract, the file becomes the property of our customer, providing them with a clear record of work completed during the term.


‘After the initial six-month contract, we’re able to create trend reports that reflect whether machines have required the same work repeatedly. This enables us to report when an upgrade’s required or replacement equipment is necessary.’

A perfect partnership


‘MachMan initially came to Cape Herb & Spice to repair a machine for us and our working relationship developed from there,’ Pierre explains. ‘It was difficult for us to keep track of what was happening with our machines and equally tricky to find someone to maintain our equipment from a broad-based perspective,’ he adds. ‘We are delighted with the services offered by MachMan. The team understands food-safety requirements and audits and has simplified our forms, reporting, and systems. Joel and Wesley thoroughly understand machine integration and most importantly, our plant and production requirements. Additionally, although they manufacture their own machines, they’re not biased to any OEM, enabling them to service and maintain all our equipment. Another benefit is that we don’t need to keep an inventory of spares, parts, or tools – Mach Man provides these as and when required,’ Pierre enthuses.


Adding to this, Joel notes: ‘We also offer staff training – we know what to look for and what can go wrong – and are always on-site when deep cleaning is scheduled so that we can take apart and reassemble machines.’


‘With MachMan’s help, we’ve streamlined our preventative maintenance and increased efficiencies and reduced breakdowns. Now we’re able to anticipate problems and plan for them through maintenance scheduling and upgrades,’ Pierre concludes.

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