Fine-Tuning Your Food Plant: How a Facility
Assessment Can Save You in the Long Run
Let’s face it — if there’s a way to boost efficiency at your food and beverage facility, it’s usually
an obvious decision. Or is it? Plant
operational efficiency is becoming a
top priority for food plant owners, but
sometimes efforts to optimize your facility
can create more challenges along the
For example, many food plant owners
are consolidating manufacturing and
distribution under one roof. While this
may seem like a quick fix to improve ROI
in the supply chain, it could introduce
a host of factors that can lead to large-scale inefficiencies throughout your plant.
What seemed like “unused” space for
that new internal distribution center may
have been strategically planned that
way to accommodate for growth and
future expansion. And just like that, what
initially seemed like a no-brainer decision
now translates to lost space for future
production and inefficient material flow in
If you’ve been making a lot of changes
at your plant recently, or even if it’s been
a while, have you thought about the
big picture moving forward? A facility
assessment can reveal some of those
inefficiencies that may have slipped
through the cracks.
What is a Facility
If you’re focused on improving the
efficiency of your supply chain, you should
focus on improving the efficiency of your
That can be a lot to juggle at once,
especially when companies are often
pressured to act quickly. That’s where a
facility assessment comes into play. It’s a
comprehensive analysis of your food plant
that identifies key areas where you can:
• Save money
• Enhance safety
• Streamline production
• Decrease risk
This tool allows you to optimize a
project based on hard data to make
justifiable, educated decisions instead of
relying on guesswork, best estimates or
Why is it Worth it?
When a plant is built, the focus is often
on the initial capital outlay, not the total
cost of ownership. A facility assessment
allows you to see how those initial
decisions may be affecting your plant’s
efficiencies and where swaps can be
made — no matter your facility’s age.
A facility assessment can benefit
food businesses in a number of ways,
1. Managing and mitigating risk. Learn
where potential risks exist in your plant
to create proactive solutions versus
2. Identifying inefficiencies. Discover
what’s bogging your plant down.
3. Reducing costs. Understand what can
be improved, or cut completely, to save
4. Increasing ROI. Identify what
equipment and optimizations will best
position your plant for long-term gains.
5. Identifying non-compliances.
Ensure your plant adheres to (and
exceeds) minimum requirements
set by industry organizations like
the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA), the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA), Food Safety
Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Safe
Quality Food Institute (SQF).
6. Optimizing processes. Recognize
how, and where, you can fine-tune
and streamline processes to increase
productivity and efficiency.
While a facility assessment is especially
helpful for an older plant, don’t rule one
out if your facility recently opened its
doors. An assessment can help measure
actual versus predicted operational
aspects at a newly built plant. It’s an easy
way to give you peace of mind that your
facility is running as expected or why
expectations are not being met.
The Risk of Skipping on a
What if you don’t perform a facility
assessment? You risk suffering the costs
of being reactive versus proactive.
By Gerry Gomolka, VP, Business Development, Stellar
To keep a finger on the pulse of
your facility’s efficiencies and
performance, strive to conduct a
thorough facility assessment once
every three-to-five years.