Five things to consider when selecting a site for your new plant

Selecting a new plant site can be a difficult process. To ensure you make the right decision, follow these five rules to keep things on track.

10/15/2014


Earlier this year, Food Processing magazine's Kevin T. Higgins claimed that being aSelecting a new plant site can be a difficult process. To ensure you make the right decision, follow the five factors to consider that help keep you on track during your site-selection process. Courtesy: Stellar food manufacturer was the next best thing to being a king. Why? Because most new plant projects and renovations are now supported by generous, multimillion public subsidies. But while communities dangle expensive bait in hopes of catching job creation, it's skewing the site-selection process, resulting in plants built in unfit locations.

While these high financial contributions are certainly positive for the industry, it's crucial that these deals are mutually beneficial. You have to be sure that the site will meet your plant's needs and business plan before cashing any checks.

A sound business plan should be the foundation of your site-selection process. The first step is to detail facts include:
The goods the plant will produce
The quantity of goods the plant will produce
Five years of production planning
Future growth expectations

Defining these facts is key because they impact various aspects of a site ranging from size requirements to energy availability. Based on your business plan, first check to see if your organization even needs a new site. Perhaps optimizing current facilities can help you reach your goals. If your organization does require an entirely new plant, here are five factors to consider that will help keep you on track during your site-selection process:

1. Local geography

A site may require additional land depending on local conditions such as topography, drainage or governmental regulation. Don't forget to investigate these factors.

2. Daily operations

How much traffic will be within your plant and how often? Consider activities such as raw ingredient delivery, finished product distribution and the facility's internal material movement. Ask yourself additional questions such as, "Will the plant's operations require rail access?" or "Is interstate accessibility high priority?" Aim to answer these early on in your site selection process to help clearly define the logistics of your new plant.

3. Utility and water costs

Determine the square footage you will require, and use a utility matrix to estimate its utility requirements. If your organization has built similar facilities, project these items based on existing data. If not, consider consulting with an experienced engineering firm.

Utility and water costs go hand-in-hand with your operations costs. When selecting a site, ensure an adequate energy supply source is readily available. Review your water and wastewater requirements. Water consumption costs are heavily influenced by wastewater pre-treatment costs or additional wastewater surcharges. Having estimates of these costs can help qualify your prospective sites.

4. Distance

Identify the location of your customers and distribution centers. Where are your raw materials located? Pinpointing these can help determine the ideal location of your new plant.

Keep transportation costs in mind, as well. Understand that costs vary between inbound material and outbound product. Your organization should strive to minimize the total transportation cost over simply minimizing the mileage between customers, materials and your plant. However, if you have a major customer that demands quick product delivery from your new plant, that should outweigh all other factors, so select a site located at a distance matching that need.

5. Environmental issues

This is a crucial consideration for food processing plants. Examine nearby industrial sites. Do they emit dust? Is there air pollution? What about odors? Noxious or toxic elements? If the site is contaminated, it's absolutely not suitable for a food processing facility. These issues are typically covered in a Phase I environmental assessment, usually orchestrated by a consultant.

Jim Hale is a senior civil engineer, he has more than 30 years of experience in project engineering and project management. He has worked on projects for Tropicana, Nestlé, General Mills, Boar's Head Provisions and many others. This article originally appeared on Stellar Food for Thoughts. Stellar is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, CFE Media, jchang@cfemedia.com



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me