Site Master Planning - key to building lowest cost sustainable food manufacturing facilities
Proper site master planning (SMP) is the single most important component in maximising return on capital investment and ensuring the long term viability of all food production facilities, according to Nigel Hale, Associate Director and Head of Food Sector (Ireland) with PM Group, a global leader in food manufacturing facility design and project management.
SMP provides an independent assessment of a particular food production facility/site, either green or brownfield, which can then be used to create a flexible, client-owned strategic development framework for the short, medium or long term. The primary benefit of SMP is that it offers a ‘big picture’ view of the project in question, thereby setting out a clear, logical vision for the future that stakeholders can understand, feel involved in and work towards. Equally important is that it is a flexible ‘live document’ that can be easily adapted to meet changing market requirements for new and/or value-added product lines.
Working in close collaboration with all stakeholders, SMP takes account of key issues such as site location, infrastructure and expandability. It also includes access to energy, water and transport networks, building location and lay-out as well as production processes, good manufacturing practices (GMP), material flow, warehousing and personnel requirements to create a number of low risk yet innovative concept options for the client, the best of which is then selected as the way forward for the company. Being able to draw on architectural design expertise from the very outset of the SMP process is a critical factor in its ultimate success. The end result is enhanced long term site viability through the accommodation of multiple expansion direction and scheme scenarios. These incorporate the latest in lean building and process design to ensure maximum cost efficiency and sustainability for the client.
Future proofing with SMP
SMP is set to play an increasingly important role in the food manufacturing industry worldwide over the coming years. Among the main trends currently pervading the sector is the construction of ‘super sites’ comprising multiple production plants, associated warehousing, distribution facilities and even employee amenities, all in a single location. Another is a move by the main multinational players towards a generic model for their global plant network which is then adapted and ‘regionalised’ to deal with local constraints such as climate, water, energy and waste management infrastructure – so called ‘cookie cutters’. These are complex multi-disciplinary projects and using SMP coupled with top quality architectural expertise is central to their long term success. They serve as a roadmap for both the initial construction and the ongoing development of these schemes, taking full account of all the disparate elements involved.
But SMP shouldn’t just be the preserve of the big multinational manufacturers - all food companies should now be using it to inform their operating strategies and future development plans in the face of constantly evolving consumer tastes and increasingly stringent standards and legislation. In fact, given the vast sums involved in manufacturing site development and construction, it’s very likely that SMP will soon become a pre-requisite for all capital investment approval.
For further information on PM Group and sister company Devereux Architects’ unique SMP toolkit and extensive food sector design and construction management experience or to discuss your own food site master planning requirements, please contact:
+353 1 404 0700
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