In any manufacturing setting, efficiency is key to a successful business, and food processing is no exception. But it seems there is always something bent on throwing a wrench into our efficiency-oriented plans. Equipment goes down, employees quit. But just because things are standing in our way, that doesn’t mean that making a food processing plan run more efficiently is impossible—it just means it takes more ingenuity.
Ultimately, the efficiency of a plant falls on the shoulders of those working in the plant. Plant managers and owners need to equip employees with the training necessary to work with machines and with each other. The facility should be set up in such a way as to make their jobs easier, not more difficult. And above all, facilities should endeavor to reduce turnover rates by engaging and taking care of employees working on their lines. It costs a company significantly more money to hire a new employee than to keep an old one. Also, the more experienced members are on a line, the more efficiently the lines run.
Follow Equipment Best Practices
Next to employees, your plant’s processing equipment is the next most essential factor in product manufacturing. As such, making sure that the different types of equipment in your facility are running effectively is essential to plant efficiency. Following proper equipment maintenance will both prevent and lessen machine downtime, keeping production lines moving. Ensuring that equipment is properly cleaned also helps prevent cross-contamination, which can lead to a severe blow to your entire company later.
Knowing how to make a food processing plant run more efficiently isn’t just about producing the most food possible—it’s also about utilizing resources effectively to avoid waste. For some plants, this may look like applying lean manufacturing principles to avoid using more resources than necessary in production; for others, it may look like purchasing energy-efficient food processing equipment. This may even mean using more natural lighting in a facility’s layout to reduce the amount of energy used for lighting. All of these things will reduce costs for a company while increasing profit.
Have Emergency Plans in Place
Even the most efficient food processing plants can be thrown for a loop by unexpected events such as power outages, equipment breaking down, or emergencies such as fires or severe weather. It’s essential for facilities to have plans in place to protect both employees and products in these scenarios and to return the facility to working order as quickly as possible if the situations permit. For instance, if the power goes out or something happens to a freezer or other equipment built to preserve food, the plant should know what to do to keep the food from going bad.