Ensuring Factory Installation Success in the Food Industry at SF Engineering

by | Jan 19, 2023 | Blog

Ensuring Factory Installation Success in the Food Industry at SF Engineering

There are many steps and decisions that are crucial to ensure new food manufacturing facility or production line projects are a success. The right equipment needs to be specified and integrated, for example, while the overall solution needs to be aligned with production and wider business strategies. The factory installation stage of the process is another crucial factor.

When factory installation and commissioning work stumbles or fails, it can have both immediate and longer-term impacts. One of the most important immediate impacts is the effect on output and the knock-on effects that can have on your orders, contracts, and customer relationships.

Over the longer term, failures in the installation and commissioning stage can result in parts of the line not working as they should. This can take months to fix while putting unnecessary strain on your internal resources and making it impossible to hit return on investment targets.

At SF Engineering, successful food factory installations are one of the pillars of our service offering. We have best-in-class engineering, design, manufacturing, and servicing operations, but we also understand the importance of the installation process and how it can make or break the new factory, new line, upgraded factory, upgraded line, or expansion project that is so important to your business.

Defining Success

Before going further, it is important to define success. We know that, from your perspective, food factory installation projects are highly pressurised. Whether your factory runs one shift a day or multiple shifts, five days a week or seven, there is usually very little time available for installation work.

It is also standard for food production lines and facilities to operate at (or very close to) full capacity just to meet existing customer orders and delivery expectations.

Therefore, the window available for installation work is usually very small. In many cases, it is too small, so there is a need to manage both production output and customer expectations to (staying with the metaphor) open the installation window a little more. Wiggle room is non-existent.

That’s how we define success at SF Engineering – your installation window. Our engineers and installation team will work with you to determine the window that we have available. Our team will then structure our work schedule, resource allocation, and processes to make sure we are in and out within the agreed timeframe, with all equipment and lines fully operational.

SF Engineering food factory installations

There will be hiccups along the way, as issues are inevitable in the fluid situation of a food manufacturing facility installation. However, we have the experience and talented resources to quickly address the issues that arise to keep the installation work on schedule.

The experience of our team extends over decades, but if we just look at the last year, 2022, you can see the extent of that experience. In addition to mid-week installation work where it suited the customer, our installation teams were on-site at customer locations for over 40 weekends within the 12-month period. Where necessary, we worked round-the-clock, and there were some weekends where we had teams in multiple locations.

SF Engineering installation teams at work

Planning, Milestones, and Reporting

There are several essential elements to ensure successful food manufacturing facility installations. Those elements apply whether the project involves a full factory refit, the installation of a new line, or the integration of new equipment in an existing line.

  • Planning – comprehensive, hour-by-hour planning is the cornerstone of successful food manufacturing facility installations. At SF Engineering, we begin the planning of installations as early as possible, typically months in advance of the work starting on-site.
  • Communication – we hold regular meetings with the customer, third-party contractors, and equipment suppliers as part of the planning process. These meetings include information sharing and updates on progress, but they also involve decision-making and the allocation of tasks and responsibilities.
  • Resource allocation – at SF Engineering, we assess each installation project individually to ensure we have sufficient resources on-site, taking into account contingency requirements.
  • Project management expertise – a skilled and experienced project manager is assigned to each installation job.
  • Milestone reporting – achieving milestones throughout the installation work is an important part of completing the job successfully. With our real time reporting and escalation process, alongside the skill of our site engineers, we can react and adjust to issues and requirement changes over the course of an installation. We keep you in the loop during this process, too, with regular milestone reporting.
  • Health and safety – at SF Engineering, we also deal with all health and safety elements of food factory installation projects. This includes the production of RAMS documents and making sure each team member is trained and certified. As a company, SF Engineering is SafeContractor and CHAS-approved.

Your Food Factory Installation Project is in Good Hands

Our installation teams worked on-site at customer locations in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, and the Middle East throughout 2022. We are now working on many projects that will be completed in the coming months. Often these projects are from repeat customers who not only appreciate the quality of the equipment that we manufacture, but also the seamlessness and efficiency of our installation process.

If you are planning an upgrade, expansion, or refit of your food manufacturing facility, you can have confidence in our installation team. Get in touch today to find out more.