This past year has been a big one in the food and beverage industry, with new technology rolling out and (some) supply chain constraints waning. While new trends and practices are already appearing for 2023, it’s critical for manufacturers to reflect on 2022’s challenges and successes when planning for the one ahead.
That’s why we’re revisiting the topics our readers found most useful this year. From coffee trends to labor availability to cyberattacks, here are the five most popular Food for Thought posts of 2022.
As labor market woes continue, adopting some degree of automation is no longer optional for companies looking to remain agile and equipped to meet future consumer demands.
Even industries that historically haven’t struggled with labor shortages are now finding it challenging to hire staff. With a peak record of 11.3 million jobs open in January 2022 and not enough workers available, more manufacturers are turning to robotics to fill the gaps.
The good news? Automated systems are getting cheaper to implement and improving technology is making systems more reliable. At Stellar, we’re constantly monitoring developments and best practices for leveraging robotics in our clients’ facilities to help them improve efficiency and productivity — not to mention combating that growing labor gap.
Let’s review some modern automation tools and the many ways robotics can be implemented into the food manufacturing process.
Construction firms are fighting an uphill battle to maintain project budgets and schedules as the industry grapples with global supply chain disruptions.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reported that material prices for nonresidential construction soared 21% from February 2021 to February 2022, and analysts predict costs will continue going up. Additionally, logistical bottlenecks such as overseas shipping delays and shortages in the transportation sector are drastically impacting project lead times.
Stellar’s industry veterans are discovering there are ways to mitigate supply chain disruptions and their effects on construction projects — but only if construction firms are willing to shift their paradigm and use a different approach when working with their clients.
Here are four ways our teams are navigating the waters.
Process-related project development can be a lengthy, expensive and unnecessarily complicated process without a solid plan to guide the project from start to finish.
Imagine investing in a large, complex piece of equipment or component for your facility without first confirming the question of how it will be integrated into your existing controls/automation system. If it doesn’t easily “connect” (plug-and-play), then you may need to reengineer the system(s), buy additional hardware/software, and/or delay the project timeline to resolve an issue that should have been identified prior to the purchase. The same holds true for other questions, such as when this equipment should be installed. If it does not align with your overall business objectives and strategy, then there could be negative consequences.
The AIA stage-gate process (also referred to as the phase-gate process) is a project management technique that breaks down complex projects into structured phases to mitigate risk and ultimately minimize (ideally eliminate) the consequences of poor planning.
In this article, we will address the stage gate approach and how it pertains to the process equipment integration portion of a project.
“Sous vide” is French for “under vacuum” and has been around for decades in France. Since 1971, Cuisine Solutions — along with subsidiary CREA and Chief Scientist Dr. Bruno Goussault — has been perfecting the sous vide technology utilizing cooking time and temperature as the foundations of its development.
As the need for food safety and consistency has dramatically increased in recent decades, the company continued investing in more production capacity, new adjacent technologies and greater innovations — including a new plant in San Antonio, Texas.
Stellar’s recent design-build project for Cuisine Solutions was named Food Engineering magazine’s 2021 Sustainable Plant of the Year. The LEED-registered facility in San Antonio, Texas, is the largest sous vide processing plant in the world with nearly $200 million in investment and measuring 315,000 square feet.
The state-of-the-art facility boasts innovative eco-friendly technologies both inside and out. In addition to saving millions of gallons of water annually via reuse in storage silos, Cuisine Solutions embraced many other sustainable measures. Let’s look at four of its notable sustainability features that could be relevant for other projects, regardless of product or processing.
Building anything right now can be daunting and expensive, much less a large industrial facility. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of construction materials has skyrocketed, labor is scarce and demand is surging. But that doesn’t mean the food supply chain can stop.
Food manufacturers and distributors still have customers to serve — and, for some, that still means investing in a new facility. At a time when construction costs are high, a company might make up for it in savings by reconsidering where the facility is built.
Facilities that support process operations produce some of the most expensive and complex buildings in the world. And they run the gamut: “Process operations” can range from baking desserts such as cakes to processing raw meat for grocery operations, to manufacturing parts and components for U.S. Navy submarines.
So what do facilities across such diverse markets have in common besides being founded on their process? For one, the costly and painful struggle of getting the project started. Many times, important early stages are executed out-of-order or even too late. Let’s look at four recommendations that may seem obvious, but if executed properly, will take some of the pain out of beginning your next process facility.
We still have a few months left in 2019, but if you’re considering building or renovating a facility sometime next year, the time to start planning may be now. Equipment lead times are growing longer — upwards of 18 to 26 weeks in some cases — and it can be even more for equipment shipped from overseas.
So how can you best prepare for your upcoming project so you don’t encounter equipment delays? In my experience, there are two major things to consider before meeting with your builder.