Search A M King

May 6, 2020 DesignConstructionFood Processing

Reconfiguring Food Facilities in Response to COVID-19

Share

Companies across all industries are dealing with unprecedented challenges as the coronavirus pandemic engulfs our nation, but the owners and operators of food facilities may be facing one of the most unique and difficult dilemmas in all of business.

The processing and distribution of food is an essential business. Our society depends on the food supply chain to operate consistently and efficiently. Should the flow of food from the farm to the consumer be interrupted or impeded, we will experience problems and issues rarely seen in the United States.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is already having an impact on our food supply chain. Several major food processing facilities in multiple states have been forced to suspend their operations to stop the spread of the virus among their workforces. Because this is a first-ever challenge for the food industry, there are no rule books detailing how to deal with this situation and no prior examples to follow.

Food processing and distribution companies must begin to develop new strategies and processes that will allow them to operate at full production while ensuring the health and safety of their workforce.

As a company that focuses on the planning, design, construction and maintenance of food facilities, A M King recognizes the magnitude of this challenge. We also understand the industry’s requirement for smart and fast solutions for adapting existing facilities to align with the new procedures. In anticipation of forthcoming requests for assistance, we have a dedicated team of experts working to ensure food facility owners and operators have the resources, knowledge and capabilities to reconfigure their workspaces. The goal is to keep their businesses operating and their employees safe and healthy.

While our team recognizes that each food facility operates uniquely, we are focused on developing solutions in the following areas:

Materials and methods for adequate separation between workers

Separation is a proven preventer of the spread of COVID-19; however, separation in a food facility is difficult to accomplish. Separation must not only occur at workstations, but also in welfare areas such as the breakroom and locker rooms. While methods of separation must provide the necessary level of protection, they must also allow workers to perform critical tasks without being impeded.

Reconfiguring Food Facilities in Response to COVID-19

Evaluation and review of operating processes

Every food facility has a proven process. From the point that raw materials enter a facility to final point of packaging and shipping, an operating food facility adheres to a set of processes that have proven to be successful. Adjusting these processes may now be required. Facility managers will evaluate how employees enter and exit, where they can work safely, and when they can work. These changes may result in new walls, more doors, relocation of equipment, and other modifications to allow a facility to operate efficiently, yet safely.

Consideration of modified space planning

One key to preventing the spread of the virus is to provide distance between individuals. Facility managers will also need to consider how to allocate the proper amount of space for adequate distancing. Some facility managers may be able to accomplish this by more careful space planning of their existing footprint. Others may need to find ways to better manage space that is presently under-utilized or investigate the feasibility of expanding facility footprints to allow more square footage per person.

Reconfiguring Food Facilities in Response to COVID-19

Greater usage of automation

While complete automation of many of the tasks required in a food processing or food distribution facility may not be achievable, there are typically aspects where automation can be implemented. Food facilities can conduct a feasibility analysis to determine where automation can be applied in a manner to alleviate interaction among employees. While the implementation of automation may be an expensive solution in the short term, the overall long-term benefits can be significant.

Practically every workplace throughout America will be changing how it operates and how it protects its employees. Food facilities, by necessity, will be on the forefront of those modifications. As they have done in the past, food processors and food distributors will introduce innovative solutions to manage through this crisis and keep the American food chain operating as efficiently and productively as before.

If you need assistance in learning how to reconfigure your facilities to ensure employees are working in a safe environment, contact us at [email protected].


A M King Staff
A M King Staff
Related Posts
READ MORE
Aug 8, 2022 • CORPORATE
Tips for Employing Insulated Metal Panels

John Koury, consulting architect for A M King, teamed up with Dean Soll, TrueCore co-founder and Open Concepts…

READ MORE
Jul 7, 2022 • CORPORATE
Design-Build with Digital Twins

While “digital twins” will likely never be part of my typical lexicon, the technology is finding its way…

Matt Worley's family. From left, brother Justin Worley; mother Angela Worley; and father Peyton Worley.
READ MORE
Jun 7, 2022 • CORPORATE
How I Discovered a Rewarding Career in Design-Build

Like many college freshmen, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life. When…

READ MORE
May 5, 2022 • CORPORATE
Let’s Talk About Building Strong Client Relationships

There’s a lot at stake when you’re running another complex expansion job for billion-dollar broadline food distributor Cheney…

READ MORE
Apr 4, 2022 • CORPORATE
How to Renovate Corporate Office Space in 2022

I had an interesting conversation with an electrochromic glass rep recently. I was supervising installation of the product…

READ MORE
Feb 15, 2022 • CORPORATE
A M King’s ASC Competition Sponsorship Benefits AEC Students

My draw to construction has always been about the tangible results. I like being able to say, “See…

Subscribe To Our Blog

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.