To incorporate sustainability into building construction and design, California established the California Green Building Standards Code—known as CALGreen for short. As the first statewide green building code in the United States, this code’s voluntary and mandatory measures aim to reduce environmental impact during and after construction while increasing buildings’ efficiency in materials and energy usage. As a food manufacturing and/or storage facility owner, you should understand that CALGreen is changing the way the building industry does business.
Each new year carries a fresh set of trends, opportunities and challenges. To celebrate the start of 2015, I’ve forecasted five trends I expect to drive food manufacturing in the months ahead.
Energy consumption is a global issue and California is leading the charge in enacting legislation to reduce our carbon footprint. The state recently revised the energy standards known as Title 24, part 6 of the California Code of Regulations, which will more than likely affect other states in the future. The goal of Title 24 is to reduce energy use and make commercial and industrial buildings more efficient than required by the 2010 Title 24 standards.
As food safety regulatory requirements become more stringent, equipment manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and increasing the role they play in the industry. The American Meat Institute’s (AMI) 10 sanitary design principles offer baseline standards for equipment design, yet many suppliers are going above and beyond these standards by offering improved surfaces, cleaning chemicals, and construction processes.
The floors of food distribution facilities must endure a lot wear and tear, with heavy forklift traffic continually moving across the surface. As new warehouse facilities are being built, owners are choosing to invest in shrinkage-compensating concrete for the flooring, which eliminates control joints, reduces curling, and minimizes cracks.
The design and construction of a distribution warehouse is more complex than meets the eye. Industrial designers, architects, mechanical engineers, refrigeration experts and a thermal team all working together can lead to a more functional, efficient, and cost-effective facility. Working with multiple contractors in multiple locations increases the likelihood of miscommunication, competing workflows, and increased costs — in addition to a longer production schedule.
For many companies, obtaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is often too costly, and the documentation process too cumbersome, to warrant the effort. While not as well recognized, Green Globes is gaining traction as a less-expensive and more user-friendly alternative to LEED certification. Established in the U.S. in 2004, Green Globes is administered by the Green Building Initiative (GBI).
In this day and age of fierce competition and tighter budgets, food manufacturers are often faced with making critical—and expensive—business decisions as part of their strategic plan. Should you refurbish existing equipment or buy new equipment to meet your manufacturing needs? Should you add product lines to increase market share and what impact would that have on current operations?
What will your food processing facility look like in the future based on your growth projections? Will you expand your current facility, buy and develop adjacent property or will it be necessary to embark on a greenfield project? A master plan—a comprehensive three-to-five-year plan that determines your facility’s physical and site requirements based on growth projections—can help answer these questions.
Most strategic plans begin with the development of a business plan, a methodical process where all aspects of the business are defined and analyzed against the company’s business objectives. Food processing companies develop business plans at different stages of their life cycle, especially in preparation to launch a new product line, invest in a facility expansion or to identify new growth opportunities.