Louis Houle (1); (1) Systemex Industrial Consulting, St. Johns, FL, U.S.A.

Utilities Management

Risks are an inherent part of starting a new business or expanding an existing operation. Craft breweries and distilleries are faced with significant decisions very early in the development of the business related to risk management. The number of concerns and their complexity increase as the business grows. Furthermore, operations that begin risk management planning in their infancy create a distinct advantage over those who don’t as the company grows. Risks include workers safety, environmental safety, business continuity and product recall, to name a few. This study focuses on the risks associated with the utilities required to run a distillery or a brewery, such as steam generation, water supply, refrigeration and compressed air supply. It proposes a methodology that allows small and large operators to drill down, starting with their entire asset fleet, to the critical assets and further down to the critical failures. This risk management methodology allows them to ensure risk is understood by all by creating a common language and agreeing on a risk tolerance limit. It uses the tools of the ISO 55000 standard, “Reliability-Centered Maintenance and Failure Modes & Effects Analysis,” to identify critical failures and create contingency plans to mitigate them. The end result is a comprehensive risk management plan, which, in turn, results in improved safety for both the workers and the environment, improved customer satisfaction, lower operating costs, lower insurance premiums and protection for the corporate image.

Louis received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON. He also holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, ON. His entire career has been spent in operations, including eight years with Kraft Foods and another eight years with Bacardi. At Kraft, he held several roles: project engineer, maintenance supervisor and maintenance manager. This is where he gained great foundational knowledge in bottling, packaging, operations and asset performance management. He then increased this experience and gained significant new experience in the spirit industry while he was the director of operations for Bacardi Canada in Brampton, ON, and also as the plant director for the Bacardi Bottling Corporation in Jacksonville, FL. Louis is currently the managing partner for Systemex Industrial Consulting USA, based in Jacksonville, FL, where he is responsible for commissioning management, asset performance management and risk management practices for the United States. Systemex is a strategic and tactical consulting firm that helps its clients optimize the reliability, availability and cost of industrial assets throughout their entire life cycle.