TEG Projects collaborates closely with clients in the Food and Beverage industry, engaging in a diverse range of capital projects. A significant portion of these projects require Feasibility Studies and Master Planning. While Feasibility Studies determine if the project is likely to provide the necessary benefit to the business at a justifiable cost, Master Planning (especially in the context of the brownfield sites TEG Projects works on) future proofs. Master Plans require big picture thinking – situating the projects within the wider lifetime of the site.
Within this blog, we will delve into the essential components of capital project Feasibility Studies and see how site Master Planning both coordinates and future proofs a manufacturing site.
Feasibility Studies for projects are essential to assess the viability of specific initiatives or changes within the given facility. Whether it’s introducing a new product line, upgrading equipment, expanding production capacity, or implementing process improvements, a feasibility study helps stakeholders make informed decisions. Here are the key components which the TEG Projects team includes in a feasibility study for projects in a food manufacturing facility:
- Project Description and Objectives: the project team clearly defines the project’s scope, including the specific changes or improvements proposed in the food manufacturing facility. They also outline the objectives, expected outcomes, and benefits of the project. In this way our team supported Beak & Johnson on their Pitango Factory Relocation Project. Our client needed a larger factory with greater manufacturing space and improved product flows, as well as staff amenities for the growing team, and it was important for our team to clearly document and define these needs at the outset of the project to ensure alignment and understanding.
- Technical and Timeline Feasibility: Our team evaluates the technical aspects of the project, including the required equipment, technology, and production processes. We determine if the facility has the necessary production and services capabilities or if new equipment and technology are needed. In addition a realistic timeline for the project, including milestones and key deliverables is developed. A realistic timeline is crucial for any project and was a critical consideration when we worked with a snack foods manufacturer on their extrusion upgrade, which involved relocating two FMCG production lines that operate 24 hours per day. Therefore carefully creating a realistic and robust timeline for the project was necessary to ensure minimal impact on other operations being undertaken within the factory.
- Financial Analysis: the TEG Project Manager prepares an order of magnitude capital cost estimate, while the client analyses operating expenses, revenue projections, and cash flow analysis, as well as assessing the project’s profitability and return on investment (ROI).
- Operational Impact: This element of Feasibility studies involves our team working closely with the client to evaluate how the proposed project will affect the existing operations of their facility. This consideration was key to our work on the George Weston Foods Pie Line Configuration. While the layout reconfiguration centred around the pie line, other lines were also affected with production spaces being reconfigured to new roles. A substantial amount of building work, including ceiling replacement, was necessary while maintaining hygiene in the operating factory. For this project and others, we consider (with the client) the potential changes in workflow, staffing requirements, and production capacity.
- Resource Assessment: With the client we assess the availability of resources, including raw materials, labour, utilities, and suppliers to ensure that the facility can meet the increased demand or requirements of the project.
- Regulatory Compliance, Risk and Environmental Impact are also assessed: TEG Projects identifies and addresses any legal and regulatory requirements associated with the project. A key component of this, in the food and beverage industry, is that we ensure proposed changes comply with food safety, health, and environmental regulations. Alongside this we identify potential risks and challenges that may impact the project’s success, and address these issues. Sustainability and environmental impact are part of this risk assessment, we analyse the project’s environmental impact on the surrounding ecosystem and community. This was a key part of the risk consideration when we worked with Fonterra on their Picasso Project, careful environmental planning ensured that the implementation of the project had minimal impact on the Edgecumbe community.
- Stakeholder Engagement: Involve key stakeholders, including management, production and maintenance teams, and relevant departments, to gain insights, support, and buy-in for the project.
Feasibility studies provide a thorough understanding of the potential project’s impact on the food manufacturing facility and ensure that resources are allocated wisely to projects with the best chances of success. They serve as a foundation for informed decision-making in capital project planning.
Master planning for brownfield food manufacturers involves considering the redevelopment or repurposing of an existing manufacturing site (usually a 10 years+ horizon). Brownfield sites are typically capacity constrained, and have often had various uncoordinated expansions over the years leading to inefficient product flow through the site. TEG Projects work primarily with brownfield sites and we have extensive master planning experience in this field.
The master planning process for brownfield food manufacturing sites involves unique challenges compared to greenfield (undeveloped) sites. Here are some key elements our team consider for brownfield food production site master planning:
- Environmental Assessment and Compliance: Regulatory compliance is an essential consideration and includes environmental regulations, food safety standards, zoning requirements, and building codes. We also conduct a thorough environmental assessment to identify and address any existing contamination on the site. Frequently we have found remediation and cleanup may be necessary to ensure the safety and suitability of the site for food production.
- Site Analysis, Constraints and Upgrades: This component requires that our team evaluate the existing infrastructure, utilities, and buildings on the brownfield site, and assess any limitations or constraints that may affect the layout and design of the food production facility. This was an important consideration for a snack foods manufacturer on their extrusion upgrade. The team needed to determine if any existing structures on the brownfield site could be reused, relocated, combined or upgraded.
- Risk Management, Food Safety and Sustainability: Develop a risk management plan to address any potential hazards associated with the brownfield site’s history, such as contamination, structural integrity, or hazardous materials. In this assessment our team also takes into consideration the layout and workflow to prevent cross-contamination, as they did when providing master plans for a pie line upgrade. Sustainable practices are also considered in the master plan to minimise the environmental impact of the facility. This may include energy-efficient systems, water recycling, and waste reduction strategies.
- Stakeholder Engagement: Our team engages with stakeholders to understand their concerns, gather input, understand capability and capacity requirements and address any social or environmental considerations related to the brownfield redevelopment. We simply cannot carry out master planning effectively without our clients expertise and input.
- Zoning and Land Use, Phased Development: We work closely with local authorities to ensure that the intended use of the brownfield site aligns with zoning regulations and land use plans.
- Cost Analysis and Funding: Alongside the client TEG Projects conducts a comprehensive cost analysis for the entire master plan, including remediation, construction, equipment, and ongoing operational costs. We also explore funding options, including grants or public-private partnerships, to support the brownfield redevelopment.
Site master planning for brownfield food production requires careful coordination between various stakeholders and an understanding of how a phased construction programme will affect the site operations. By using our practical real-world experience in developing sites and coordinating closely with our client stakeholders, we have found that brownfield sites can be transformed into modern, productive and safe food production facilities with minimum disruption.
Feasibility Studies and Master Planning are cornerstones of TEG’s approach to ensuring successful and coordinated project outcomes for our food and beverage clients. If you’d like insight and expertise into the Feasibility Studies for your capital projects, reach out to our team today.