A search for radical new solutions to modern food production involved challenging assumptions and questioning long-held practices. The process has resulted in a modular factory concept to be implemented globally to reduce costs and lead times.
Question opens up wide-ranging avenues for solutionWe started, not by jumping to a solution, but by using design thinking to really understand the questions behind the one we had been asked. This was important due to the large number of potential routes a solution could take. For example, should it focus on automation, modular factories, supply chain arrangements? Was there an advantage in looking at machinery, or would it be better to focus on buildings and utilities?
A further level of complexity was provided by the breadth of stakeholders. The project involved input from our client’s global centres all over the world. Each had their own challenges, cultures and interests which they hoped the future-focused project would solve.
Design thinking challenges assumptions to create a new way of envisaging production
The question brought together economic, legislative, technical and environmental assessments. By challenging assumptions and breaking down barriers we were able to create a different way of thinking which could achieve the cost reduction and agility being sought.
Royal HaskoningDHV specialist
Futureproof factory concept can reduce lead times by up to 50%
From there, we started working on a modular factory concept for local markets. Local production is important for sustainability and resilience as it shortens the supply chain and increases agility. The factory can be scaled up for larger-volume production by adding modular units. This modular concept could cut lead times by 50%, with dramatic impact on speed to market. Such concepts create a fit-for-purpose approach, only building what is needed, which reduces capex.
“A key advantage for our client was the combination of expertise in consultancy, engineering and project management that we brought to this complex project, not only strategically but especially on the feasible implementation of the modular concept,” the specialist added. “Another benefit was insight and experience from a wide range of industries in our project team. Food manufacturers can benefit from disruptive solutions being developed within automotive, pharmaceutical, electronics and other markets.”