Volm Companies is taking full advantage of the latest in digital technologies to offer grower-shippers a turn key solution process for expanding packing operations—by allowing customers to see exactly where to place everything before a construction crew ever arrives.
Volm Companies is a vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor of packaging and equipment solutions for the fresh produce industry.
Volm’s humble beginnings and willingness to listen to customer needs continue to fuel innovation and growth in the 60-year-old family business that started by supplying burlap bags. Gerald Volm’s pioneering spirit still infiltrates all corners of the business as the third generation of family enters into the company bringing experiences, energy and focus.
The Volm Companies understand the market trends facing today’s growers, packers and shippers, which include healthcare reform, changes in immigration policy, food safety and traceability initiatives, low interest rates and aging packing facilities. What is unique about these trends is how they are compounding into a perfect storm that is driving some of the most aggressive investment in plant automation seen in our lifetime.
The VEST Solution
The Volm Companies has assembled a professional services team of engineers and designers who are identifying and addressing those challenges head on. The Volm Engineered Solutions Team, is a group of professionals bringing new ideas, creativity and modular solutions to Volm’s customer base. VEST combines years of experience, talented vendor partners, honed interviewing skills and the latest in 3D modeling software to solve problems, many times before the problems arise because of their commitment to identify trends early to their lifecycle.
When a packer or shipper sees the need to expand its facility or improve efficiency, VEST consultants will conduct a “Quick Study” based on the functional requirements they’re given, in order to give the operations manager an idea of what the proposed layout will look like and also the ROI in doing it.
If the customer approves of the Quick Study and the ROI meets the payback they need, a VEST designer will be sent in to do critical measurements and develop the two-dimensional plan used in design. Prior to interaction with the customer, a three-dimensional rendering will be created to enable the team and customer to really dive into the needs and layout of the new project.
“We do all that we can in 3D, because it’s very intuitive and informative,” says Scott Erickson, Vice-President of Volm Companies. “You can see how everything lays out.”
He says that it’s a great application because the customer can know exactly what the line will look like and how it fits in the building. You can easily see whether something will be positioned too close to the wall, conveyors may not have enough clearance or a structural support column will interfere with the proposed location of the packing line.
“You can see exactly how the project fits in their facility,” he says. “It’s something that gives the customer a lot of confidence—the line is going to meet their needs, and it’s going to add efficiencies in their operation right way.”
This saves the packing shed time and money. Instead of making changes during the installation phase—when the construction crews are there—all nuanced changes to the specifications are made during the 3D phase.
“You have a very clean, quick, efficient set-up that allows you to get in and out of a project sooner than if you’re doing all of that manufacturing on the fly and making a multitude of changes in the facility itself,” he says.
So far, Erickson says, reaction has been positive.
“All indications are that the customers really like the ability to see the project in 3D. They have a real sense of understanding before the labor shows up on how conveyors and equipment will interact and transition throughout the entire design.”
To the customer, there are no surprises. Once construction begins, the customer can gauge for themselves how construction is progressing. And the VEST organization will not only be on-site to help customers with the design, but it can also be part of the organization and management of the installation, training and commissioning of the line.
Volm Companies strive to redefine themselves and weed out inefficiencies, not just within themselves but also in partnership with customers and supplier partners. It is this commitment that will position Volm as the MVP in the eyes of their customers.
For more information on VEST, visit www.volmcompanies.com and click on the Packaging Equipment tab at the bottom of the page.