Developing a manufacturing plan is generally the second phase in the strategic planning process. After creating a business plan and specifying your food processing plant’s sales and growth projections, a manufacturing plan will identify and assess the processes that are used to manufacture the product to meet those sales goals.
A manufacturing plan requires an in-depth analysis of:
- Physical facility
- Other processes related to manufacturing
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the appropriate technology is in place and optimize current production practices to meet sales goals. The process of developing the plan will help identify where constraints exist and highlight areas to improve production efficiency.
The purpose of the manufacturing plan is 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 the projected growth
The three steps in developing a manufacturing plan are:
- Situation analysis — This involves a detailed review of the facility’s physical space and plant layout. Your manufacturing plan team should analyze workflow among both process equipment and personnel. For example, how do functional employees move throughout the facility and at what rate? How long does it take raw materials to reach the processing line? A facility assessment is an effective way to analyze the status quo and identify ways to optimize energy usage, improve food safety, minimize risks and save money.
- Goals and objectives — Every aspect of production should be viewed independently with individual goals established for each process. In most cases, quantifiable goals can be developed for each area including operations, process, product, logistics and the overall facility. For example, how many lines will need to run concurrently in order to meet production goals? How much time does it take for a product to move from packaging to the warehouse or storage facility? Set realistic and quantifiable goals based on your sales objectives in order to design for optimal production efficiency.
- Function and scope — This step will determine manufacturing concepts and requirements necessary to meet sales goals, including an efficient plant layout for optimal workflow, production process lines and layout, and efficient material handling and distribution. The recommendations set forth in this step will help drive your plant’s master plan based on physical production requirements.
Plant owners often enlist the help of outside consultants when developing a manufacturing plan in order to get an objective perspective on the plant’s current processes. Outside consultants also have the added benefit of being able to share knowledge and case studies from their experience with other food processing plants.