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Todd Allsup
VP, Food & Beverage Facility Services, Stellar

What’s the best way to remain competitive in the food processing industry today? A strategic plan. It equips your business with the knowledge, tools and strategies necessary to evolve and adapt to changing marketing conditions and consumer demands. In fact, we’ll be hosting a Food Engineering webinar June 23, 3 Key Elements in a Successful Strategic Plan for Growth to dive into strategic plans even further.

Last week, we discussed the first step in developing a strategic plan: developing a business plan. This week, we’ll discuss step two: conducting a manufacturing analysis.

A few key goals for your manufacturing plan are to:

  • Review the current-state manufacturing equipment utilization and bottlenecks
  • Forecast the effect of projected growth on the utilization of existing equipment and systems
  • Develop courses of action to effectively support projected growth

A manufacturing analysis will let your team get into the nitty gritty of your current processes. It requires an in-depth understanding of processes related to manufacturing such as your:

  • Physical facility
  • Materials
  • Equipment
  • Personnel
  • Storage
  • Logistics

Your manufacturing analysis is the sum of three overarching analyses of your processes:

1. Situation Analysis — This involves a detailed review of your facility’s physical space and plant layout. Your strategic planning team should analyze workflow among both process equipment and personnel. A situation analysis encompasses:

  • Site ConsiderationsFirst, you must understand the location of your building site and how it affects your facility’s operations. This includes external soft costs that must be squared away before construction can begin. You’ll have to comply with permits for zoning, foundation, building and other items.
  • Physical Building and Structure — Consider the physical capabilities and limitations of your building, both inside and out. Factor in future changes to the facility, whether it’s expansion or renovation. Food-safety requirements are also a major part of the physical aspects of the building, so consider which sanitation processes will be used and how they will affect your facility.
  • Utility/ Process Systems — Determine every aspect of your utility use, including which utilities are used most, how much is needed and where you will get them. Address utilities including gas, electricity and water services.
  • Capacity — Production capacity will depend on your facility’s equipment. Can your existing equipment match your future production goals? Remember, you’ll need to plan for growth and expanded production, too.
  • Material Handling — Analyze where certain operations will occur within the facility and how food will move between them. Consider how much automation will factor into your food processing as well.
  • Storage and Distribution — Have a clear understanding of food handling, from arrival to distribution. Figuring out storage logistics early on can save you costs later.

2. Current-state versus future-state analysis — Examine the gaps between where your facility is now and where you want your facility and/ or operations to be in the future. Consider everything from your situation analysis, including personnel, building size and equipment.

3. Relationship analysis, factory flow and equipment layout — Analyze your current food processing company’s workflow, production process lines and layout. Are there ways you could optimize these elements?

About Stellar

Stellar is a fully integrated firm focused on planning, design, pre-construction, construction, refrigeration, mechanical & utility, building envelope, and total operations & maintenance services worldwide. Visit the company's blog at www.stellarfoodforthought.net

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