Filtration plays a significant role at each manufacturing facility and impacts employee and consumer safety, product quality, labor costs, productivity, waste reduction, and energy efficiency. While many industrial suppliers and distributors are adept at fulfilling orders of many MRO (maintenance, repair and operating supply) items, they lack the technical expertise needed to recommend the correct filter(s) for each application within a facility. This shortcoming is understandable, however, as most suppliers don’t perform site surveys to fully understand the filtration needs of their customers' facilities and equipment.
What is a site survey?
A site survey is a general walk-through of your facility performed by an industrial filtration supplier. While many suppliers focus on the tool crib or storeroom during site visits, a true survey performed by a filtration expert focuses on the manufacturing floor and invests the time and resources necessary to learn how filters are being used throughout the facility and in production.
A site survey is also an opportunity for a supplier to create touch points and learn the needs of equipment operators, engineers, and facility managers. These relationships allow for quicker resolutions to filtration issues and can lead to process improvements that can help a plant exceed its cost savings goals.
Customer site surveys are the pathway to partnership. As a solution provider, we need to have intimate knowledge of the customer's process and equipment. True cost savings and process improvements are the results of knowing our customers and tackling the challenges in their systems. This is what separates TFS from our competitors.
— Jeff Orlando, general manager, Total Filtration Services
Why don't all filter suppliers perform site surveys?
Though it sounds like a simple process, a proper site survey where each filter is documented can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete, depending on the size of the facility and the number of filters used. After the on-site visit is completed, significant time is spent organizing and summarizing the information captured for the customer so they have a full understanding of the filters being used throughout their facility.
For many MRO suppliers, investing this amount of time to focus only on filters isn't feasible, as they view filters simply as a commodity among thousands of other products they offer. Only a full-line distributor that considers filtration to be its core business will invest the time necessary to identify all of your filters and learn why you're using them. Being the largest full-line distributor of filtration products in North America, TFS regularly performs site surveys to identify the right filters for each process, and for the right price.
4 Reasons your filter supplier should perform a site survey
While a thorough site survey may not be necessary for every building, most industrial facilities with manufacturing processes will greatly benefit from having one performed by an experienced filtration supplier such as TFS. Although not all-inclusive, the below list will give you four key reasons to work with a supplier that is qualified to conduct one:
1. Filter identification: Most industrial suppliers are simply concerned with gathering a list of filters being purchased on a regular basis and replacing them with a lower-cost alternative. However, there are several items such as liquid strainers and air breathers that are left-off these lists because they're not always recognized as filters. The filter experts at TFS are trained to identify all disciplines of filtration and will invest the time needed to document each filter located in your tool crib and maintenance shop, on your roof, and wherever else filters are used/stored in your facility.
2. Consolidation of space and suppliers: Space is at a premium for most manufacturing facilities, so a thorough site survey can help consolidate filtration inventory so you can re-purpose space wasted storing similar filters in multiple spaces. A site survey will also help you and your supplier determine if a VMI program (vendor managed inventory) makes sense for your business.
With TFS being the largest full-line distributor of filtration products in North America, you can also consolidate the number of suppliers you purchase these filters from and deal with one person for the entire plant.
3. Lowering TCO (total cost of ownership): While on-site, a true filter expert will inform you of new filter technology and alternative filtration solutions that can improve your processes and lower TCO. Lowering your TCO includes finding ways to increase filter life and reducing expenses such as labor, materials, unplanned downtime, and waste. To see one of several examples of where TFS recommended new filtration technology that addressed a customer's concern and lowered their total cost of ownership, read this case study.
4. Technical support: A site survey gives a filtration supplier a visual understanding of your operations and provides an opportunity to establish relationships with employees that have direct knowledge of challenges in the production process. While some challenges may require an on-site approach to address, a short phone call or prompt email response with a TFS filter expert trained in recommending solutions to plant personnel can save you thousands of dollars in production downtime and lost productivity.
If you're interested in having TFS perform a site survey at your facility, please complete a short form to have a TFS filter expert contact you.
If you're experiencing an immediate filtration issue, contact TFS at 1-800-331-3118 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about our product offerings and technical capabilities, visit our website.
This blog was contributed by the Total Filtration Services Team.