COMPANY PROFILE

P. ANDREW MALCOLM CONSULTING, INC. (PAMC)

P. Andrew Malcolm Consulting, Inc. (PAMC) logo


CONTACT INFO

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Address

32 Carte Place
Pleasant Hill
CA, 95423
United States
Phone
925-997-4626
Fax
Primary
Andy Malcolm

Bottling and Packaging Engineering for Today's Wine Industry

As production requirements grow, you may need to upgrade equipment or establish entirely new facilities. PAMC has the expertise to help.

 

We’ve managed projects throughout the winery, from bottling lines to crush pad and cellar installations, as well as individual focused projects such as package design execution and machine upgrades. We’re familiar with all aspects of winery facilities.

 

When packaging and automation needs stretch beyond the capacity or expertise of your existing engineering team, it’s important to work with a firm that brings industry experience into the project.

 

Here are a few of the ways some of the top names in the wine industry have taken advantage of our expertise:

 

  • Manage specification of high-capacity bottling line equipment. Research and vet vendors within and outside the wine industry to supply equipment that best met the customer's requirements
  • Define scope outlining all equipment, facility, and utility requirements for multi-use facility
  • Create specifications and manage installation of packaging and process equipment
  • Specify design and performance requirements for each piece of equipment on a 12,000 case per day contract bottling line
  • Identify and specify tenant improvements for an entire facility
  • Act as Owner’s Representative to developer/contractor

What does your project entail? Feel free to give us a call at 925.997-4626 to discuss your unique circumstance.

 

 

Budgeting for Your Capital Project

Like crafting a signature red blend, creating a budget for a capital project can sometimes feel like a cross between guesswork, sorcery and luck. As any project management expert will explain, there is no black magic involved. Instead, budgeting for a capital project requires insight, forward thinking, and an attention to detail.


Projects begin with a business need and a goal for fulfilling it. “We want to achieve X by improving Y.” This is where budgeting begins. A budget sizes up the opportunity and creates a starting point for what is affordable. This sets the stage for what capital equipment purchases can be justified.


Once identified, the project requirements should guide the selection of equipment.  It should be a straightforward exercise to figure out how much that equipment will cost.  However, capital project expenses include more than just the price tag of the equipment.  Other considerations contribute to the final cost.


To determine these costs, most project managers will then ask the following questions:


1. What facility modifications are needed?
It might seem obvious that additional space is needed to house new equipment, but the impacts of integrating the new space and equipment may not be apparent. Will plumbing need to be rerouted? Is there enough electrical service? Is new fire-safety equipment needed? Does the floorplan need to be modified? Will equipment fit through existing doors (don’t laugh) and, is specialized machinery required for installation?


2. Does your in-house staff have the expertise and bandwidth?
During the project, additional engineering resources may be needed for implementation. Your staff may or may not have has the technical expertise to run the project. Will an added project take too much time away from performing “their day job”? You don’t want to see quality or performance suffer in the daily operations that facilitate your growth.


3. How do we minimize disruption of current production?
While it may be feasible to integrate new equipment without disrupting ongoing production, it isn’t likely. However, it is feasible to minimize downtime through planning. Facility modifications can be accomplished in advance during planned shutdowns and, with planning, multiple procedures can be completed during each shut down period. Either way, the costs associated with bringing in staff or mobilizing contractors for shutdown work is rightfully a project cost.


During the project planning phase, capturing all budget items is a vital part of the process. Asking the right questions up front can ensure a project stays on budget and still includes all of features that allow it to meet its long-term expectations.


When a capital improvement project overruns its budget, a winery is left with a difficult decision. They can abandon the original plan and reduce scope. This means that anticipated production improvements are downgraded, and the project will likely not achieve its justification. They can go back to management, owners, or investors to request additional funds. Both options also lead to erosion of trust with key stakeholders making it harder to get projects approved in the future. So, it is critical to get the budget right before the design process begins or the first piece of equipment is purchased.


In budgeting for a capital project (and we can’t stress this enough) unforeseen costs can push projects over budget.  Typically, the costs are less “unforeseen” and more “overlooked.” Carefully examining a project plan and asking key questions early in the process can ensure a project stays on budget with no luck required.


Stay tuned – in our next blog, we will address some hidden “budget buster” costs that are all-too-often overlooked.


News Archive


PAMC Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary
01 July, 2019

 

 

 

PAMC is proud to announce our 20th year serving the Wine, Food and Beverage, 

and Life Sciences industries.

 

Our Story

Andy Malcolm always knew he wanted to own his own company.  He just didn’t know what type of business it would be.  After graduating from Cornell University with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering thanks to a Navy ROTC Scholarship, Andy entered the US Navy and was stationed aboard the USS Barbour County.  It was here Andy developed his ability to coordinate and motivate diverse personnel to complete critical projects.

 

As do so many in the industry, Andy fell into packaging quite unexpectedly. Working as a Maintenance Supervisor at Owens-Illinois Glass Company, he gained practical, real-world experience troubleshooting and maintaining production and packaging equipment along with industrial facilities.

 

Up next for Andy was a transition to the wine industry as the Production Engineer for Sutter Home Winery, where he learned the ins and outs of all aspects of winery operations, from crushing, through the cellar to bottling. Andy is proud of his achievements here – in particular, his involvement in executing an award-winning redesign of a full line of wine packaging.  While he was at it, Andy earned his MBA at St. Mary’s College of California, further convincing the entrepreneur in him that he should start his own business.  Consulting seemed like a viable option.

 

An opportunity to be the Manager of Packaging Technology for Eichleay Engineers allowed Andy to learn the consulting business and formalize his approach to managing engineering and capital equipment projects. Andy credits Eichleay with his exposure to and subsequent involvement in the Life Sciences industry.

 

Ultimately, in 1999 Andy struck out on his own starting P. Andrew Malcolm Consulting (PAMC) and for the last 20 years has been an independent consultant working on a wide variety of winery, life science, and food and beverage projects.

 

Andy has enjoyed the diversity of the projects and feels it has benefited him by strengthening his ability to work with a broad range of clients and packaging projects.

 

As Andy says, “There isn’t much I haven’t seen or can’t figure out.” 

 

As we celebrate our 20 years in business, we would like to thank our clients for their loyalty and confidence in our work.  We especially appreciate the network of friends and peers who have supported us and made the journey so enjoyable.  Although it is supposed to be work, Andy feels that we should enjoy what we do and the camaraderie of the people with whom we do it.

 

If you would like to contact Andy to talk with him about your upcoming bottling or packaging project or expansion, please reach out to him a andy@malcolmconsultants.com or 925-997-4626

 

To learn more about Andy and PAMC, visit malcolmconsulting.com


Production Matters
04 June, 2019

As production requirements grow, you may need to upgrade equipment or establish entirely new facilities. 

If this is you, you might be looking for someone with the expertise to help you manage projects ranging from crush pad and cellar installations through bottling lines, as well as individual requirements like package design and testing.  At PAMC we are familiar with all aspects of winery facilities.

When packaging and automation needs stretch beyond the capacity or expertise of your existing engineering team, it’s important to work with a firm that brings industry experience into the project.

Here are a few of the ways some of the top names in the wine industry have taken advantage of our expertise:

  • Defined scope outlining all equipment, facility, and utility requirements for multi-use facility
  • Created specifications and managed installation of packaging and process equipment
  • Specified design and performance requirements for each piece of equipment on a 12,000 case per day contract bottling line
  • Identified and specified tenant improvements for an entire facility
  • Acted as Owner’s Representative to developer/contractor.

If you have plans for an upgrade or expansion feel free to give us a call at 925-997-4626 to discuss your unique circumstance.


Does the Winery Equipment You're Investing In Really Fit Your Needs?
21 May, 2019

Outfitting your winery is an exciting task but browsing equipment specifications with similar descriptions and little guidance for what truly fits your needs can be daunting. New equipment selection can feel like a distraction from the art of wine making as well as from more urgent production and sales activities. It is not unusual for a winery to base equipment purchases on what worked for neighboring wineries or the recommendations of an equipment dealer. Purchasing capital equipment is a major cost and a decision that should be made carefully.


Not all capital equipment purchases are created equal. Each winery has unique circumstances based on production requirements, business organization, personnel types and skills, location, varietals, facility capabilities and more. What worked for one winery doesn’t necessarily work for all wineries. Understandably, an equipment representative is looking to fit their equipment to your needs, but have you taken the time and asked the right questions – to clearly assess your project.


For this reason, it is essential to spend time on two principal activities for a capital equipment project – framing the project and defining user requirements.


Frame Your Project

Typical questions that might be asked could include:


  1. Is this a quality improvement project?

Home in on the aspect of quality you want to improve and determine what drives it. Perhaps it is efficiency or consistency or aesthetics or process inadequacies or product flaws. Knowing what is affecting quality helps define where to focus a capital improvement project. It also allows you to prioritize any peripheral systems under consideration.

  1. Is it a capacity building project?

A capacity-building project is more than focusing on current bottlenecks; a company’s history and future goals should inform it. Of course, there are limitations. Sure, a winery may hope to increase production by 10-fold in the future but is that a realistic goal relative to the ROI for the investment. Consider a multi-phase approach.  Perhaps forecasting double or quadruple capacity in the next few years results in cash flow to a future expansion on the way to that 10-fold increase.

  1. Is it to diversify or improve a winemaking style?

Expanding and refining product offerings should not be confused with expanding capacity. They are similar but with different considerations. Adding a new product may not increase production; it adds capability and requires new skillsets. Perhaps the goal is to increase capacity and expand product offerings. That is fine if they are differentiated from each other.


Rather than a “here and now” mentality, think about these questions holistically. Looking only at a winery’s historic growth and its current operations may lead to purchasing equipment that is quickly obsolete because it doesn’t fit future needs. Consider near-term and long-term forecasts and select equipment that balances the two. The funds may not be available to fulfill every long-term plan, but it may be possible to incorporate preparations for future improvements and expansions.


Based on the answers to questions like the above, you can formulate investment objectives that drive the project forward. Clear objectives help maintain focus on goals and inform not only the project’s strategy but the company’s strategy.


User Requirements Specification

Once familiar with the reasons behind undertaking a capital improvement project, it is time to create a User Requirements Specification (URS). Dedicate adequate time early in the project to creating a URS. Although gathering requirements and preferences from multiple user groups ranging from operators to maintenance to production seems like a lengthy process, it can save money, time and headaches down the road. A URS doesn’t only list the needs and desires from users; it also builds confidence in final decision tradeoffs and provides a road map when things begin to feel like there are straying off course.


As you build the URS, it is crucial to keep in mind the original goals for the project. When asked open-ended questions, users enjoy dreaming up pie-in-the-sky concepts that creep outside of the scope of the objectives laid out earlier. Continually look at suggested requirements and ask, “Why is this necessary?”


Every capital project is different, but that doesn’t mean lessons from other projects are not translatable. A significant advantage of working with a consultant is their experience in multiple projects and even other industries. PAMC brings this experience to every project to help define the scope, build a URS and allow you to make equipment purchases that fit your growth strategy.


Choosing Equipment Wisely for Your Winery
06 May, 2019

The purpose of a User Requirements Specification for your winery is to clearly and specifically document the requirements for the machine, system, or upgrade that you plan to buy or implement. (For our purposes, let’s call it a machine.)  The User Requirements Specification provides the project manager or engineer with her marching orders. ‘Go get us the machine to do what it says in this document.’


Project managers and engineers in large corporations and highly regulated industries know that the URS is the foundation upon which a capital project is built.  But this applies to the winemaking process as well. Done correctly, the URS specifies a machine that will repeatedly and reliable perform its role in grape and wine processing or bottling.  Equally if not more importantly, done wrong, you’re instructing your engineer to obtain a machine that is too much: too complex, too expensive, too big, or all the above.  It can be like buying a big rig to deliver pizzas. The flip side is that not scaled correctly, you may have a machine that you outgrow too quickly.


Everything costs something.  Be aware that every feature your team of users adds to the list as a ‘requirement’ is going to cost more money or more time to obtain. And, it will need to be tested to make sure it works as requested.  Is it really necessary to have frames made from stainless steel or would powder-coated mild steel meet the need?  Are servo-controlled positioners a ‘must have’ or would a couple of hand cranks work just as well?  Do you need to collect and store thirty pieces of data on every bottle the system fills, or can you narrow it down to three to five critical parameters that should be monitored?


Learning to ask ‘why?’ can be a valuable tool.  

As your team develops its list of requirements, it doesn’t hurt to politely and respectfully ask Why do we need that?’  What makes this necessary?  Is it something that the process requires or is it something that a member of the team wants because he thinks it would be cool to have?  Does it fulfill a regulatory requirement?  Does it make the machine more reliable or easier to maintain?  Is the machine still safe to operate without it?  Is it a ‘requirement’ or a nice-to-have ‘want’?


The Importance of Buy-In at the User Requirements Specification stage cannot be underestimated. 

There’s a reason more than one person signs off on a URS. Before a team member or user places a signature on the signature page, he has to be comfortable that what is written inside truly represents the requirements for the project, including his own.  One of the benefits of having a cross-departmental team involved in authoring the User Requirements Specification is the ability to synthesize thoughts and challenge the requirements on a cross-functional basis.  A good project manager will not ask for those signatures until she is confident that it contains only requirements, without the wants.


PAMC understands the importance of upgrading and / or choosing your new equipment wisely to handle the demands of your customers and your team.  Check out some of our work in the wine industry and contact us to help you with your next project.


Considering a Capital Project? Put the 'User' in User Requirements Specification.
25 April, 2019

The User Requirements Specification (or URS) is the foundation of any serious effort to buy or implement a machine, system, or upgrade.  Somebody somewhere decided that there is a need in the organization to be met.  More than likely, that decision was made while evaluating the situation from 10,000 or 30,000 feet.  They know that maintenance costs are too high, capacity is insufficient, or efficiencies are substandard. They gave someone money and authority to do something about it. Management set the project goals (cost reduction, capacity, efficiency) but that person became the Customer.

 

So, why is it called a User Requirements Specification?  It’s not a Management Requirements Specification or a Customer Requirements Specifications.  The purpose of the User Requirements Specification is to drill down to the next level and capture the attributes required by the Users of this new acquisition in order to meet the project goals.

This clarification begs the question:  What is a ‘User’?  A User is any person or group that is going to interact with the piece of equipment or have an interest in how it is used.  In the case of a filling machine, the most obvious user is the Production Manager or Supervisor whose people operate the bottling line.  But, does this manager or his people know the process parameters to be met?  Not necessarily.  Is it possible there is more than one User?  Yes.  Right away, we add Process Engineering (or Winemaking) to the list of Users.

 

What about the people who will keep the equipment running?  Do you think Maintenance should be consulted?  Absolutely.  They probably have preferences regarding the control system and other components they would like to see.  Their people are trained on particular platforms and they have spare parts in inventory.  By now you can see what we’re looking for.

 

Is Quality interested in how a new filling machine is going to be used?  Yes.  Quality is a User.

 

What about Facilities Engineering?  What type of electrical power is available and how much?  Is there enough compressed air to run the new machine?  Will it fit through the door?  (Don’t laugh.)  Better put them on the list.

 

And remember, If this is a winery project, be sure to involve Winemaking from the start.  They above all others will have a vested interest in how the wine is treated.

 

The Importance of Identifying All Your Users.  To be clear, not all of the Users need to sign off on the User Requirements Specification .  But it’s the author’s responsibility to make sure that the list of Users is complete, all of them are consulted, and their requirements considered.  Many of us have been involved in projects where one person learned of the project well after key decisions had been made.  Perhaps the order had been placed or (horror) the team was preparing to leave for the Factory Acceptance Test.  This person had a vested interest in the success of the project, but nobody had thought to consult him.  The next thing you know, everything comes to a screeching halt while the Project Team attempts to verify that the machine in question meets local safety or corporate engineering standards, or that it will accommodate a new product scheduled to launch six months after start-up.

 

Many times the tendency is to keep the list of those providing input to the User Requirements Specification to a minimum in order to save time and perceived complication.  Seldom is that a good idea.  Not every idea that one of your identified users comes up with has to be included, but they shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand either.  Just now you saw where EH&S, Production Planning, and Marketing should have at least been asked for input.

 

Now, you tell me, did I miss anyone?


PAMC is Heading to WiVi!
12 March, 2019

Heading to WiVi tomorrow; lot's to see and hear about - If you would like to meet this evening or during the show, please contact me to talk about how we can help you or your in-house engineering staff tackle your project challenges,. 


You can e-mail here or at andy@malcolmconsulting.com or call 925-997-4626. Looking forward to a great event in Paso Robles! 

Complete Project Management

When an equipment purchase or production line implementation is beyond your in-house expertise, we’ll handle the whole project – on time and on budget. 

Our extensive experience in project management for Wine,

Food & Beverage companies allows us to lead projects from developing user requirements to defining scope, to implementation, startup, and validation.

Affiliations with additional experienced resources and our familiarity with equipment suppliers often allow us to execute on a project more quickly than in-house teams that are less specialized. Review some representative projects, or schedule a complimentary Engineering Project Assessment.

Deep industry and engineering expertise allow us to come up to speed quickly, immediately easing the workload on your engineering team. 

 

Using PAMC for engineering staff augmentation allows you to maintain the lower overhead of a smaller engineering team while knowing you can handle additional projects when demands require.

Here are just a few of the ways we may be able to help:

 

  • Define scopes for expansions and new facilities
  • Act as owner’s representative to contractors
  • Develop project plans for executing capital equipment projects
  • Manage purchase, installation, and start-up of custom-designed systems for bottling, packaging and processing
  • Develop best practices documentation
  • Perform efficiency studies on existing equipment and processes
  • Prepare specifications for new equipment to be purchased

Because of our experience in engineering staff augmentation in the Wine, Food & Beverage Industries, we are able to become productive members of your engineering team quickly.

Feel free to give us a call at 925-997-4626 to discuss your unique circumstance.

Project Manager for fully-automated, high capacity bottling line for WBM Top-30 winery.  Incorporated project tenants of flexibility, quality, efficiency, synchronization, and automation to identify innovative, leading edge equipment capable of running cased and bulk glass.

 

 

Project Engineer for Scope Definition phase of a greenfield, multi-use winery facility comprised of bottling, warehousing, and barrel handling operations in the Napa Valley. Developed detailed scope definition documents outlining all equipment, facility, and utility requirements for this state-of-the-art installation. Specified design and performance requirements for each piece of equipment on the 12,000 case per day contract bottling line. Identified and specified tenant improvements for the entire 150,000 s.f. facility. Acted as Owner’s Representative to developer/contractor.

 

Co-leader of project team that executed the complete redesign of a full line of wine packaging for a large Napa Valley winery. Responsible for equipment specification, procurement, and installation. This package earned an AmeriStar Package Award.

 

Project Manager and Engineer for the design and installation of a new bottling line created by combining equipment and conveyor components from three existing lines.

 

Production Engineer responsible for coordination and execution of multiple projects ranging in scope from package design and testing through packaging and process equipment specification, acquisition, and installation for a six-million plus case winery.

 

Project Engineer for winery cellar and crush pad expansion. Cooperage project added 4 million gallons of refrigerated cooperage on two sites including catwalks, wine transfer lines, and associated structures. Quintupled press capacity with the largest multiple grape press installation in the industry to that date; eight 50,000 liter bladder presses fed by a progressing cavity pump and extensive pomace discharge system.

 

Project Manager for installation phase of fast-track project to upgrade spirits processing facility in support of new products. Scope included adding stainless cooperage with associated pumps and instrumentation, new product transfer lines, modifications to existing piping, new RO filter, and modifications to hot water boiler system.

 

As Project Engineer, developed User Requirements Document for new bottling line equipment from de-casing through load building. Document clearly defined equipment requirements for a line capable of bottling full range of 750 ml package configurations including CIP-capable filler, cold glue and pressure sensitive labeling, cork and ROPP closures, label and case coding, and all conveying systems.