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A safe, swift facility build amid a global pandemic | Hearthside Food Solutions

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The challenge

We needed to build a new facility with automation capabilities in order to meet rapid growth needs. Between syncing up construction timelines, permits, and ensuring safety, building out a near fully automated bakery is a challenge alone, but this customer also needed to be fully functional within a year—a significant addition to the request.

We started work in 2020, which meant adding a global pandemic to our already condensed timeline.

The process

High collaboration is something we bring to every partnership, and this project was no exception. Especially with a tight timeline and added pressure from the rapid evolution of the pandemic, open and frequent communication was paramount.

To kick off, we spent a couple months with the technicians, building out requirements documents, identifying the main goals, products, and types of packaging needed. (In particular, the packaging area required a large lift in terms of automation.)

After establishing our baselines, we began to convert an empty brownfield facility into our facility. This meant gutting everything and building back up, all with new COVID-19 protocols in place for our teams. We worked with a dedicated staff, and up to 400 contractors at a time in order to keep this project on track.

“High collaboration is something we bring to every partnership, and this project was no exception.”

The results

In a year full of challenges that nobody expected, we delivered this facility with new capabilities and capacity on time and on target. The automation of the packaging area alone has enabled us to reduce labor and run lines at a higher rate, with less square footage requirements—an important target.

We also take immense pride in our approach to heightened safety during this period. Even with a large staff and bevy of contractors, we didn’t experience a single COVID-19 hit. This was a huge group effort and it speaks volumes of the team that we’re so fortunate to work with each day.

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