What is a Plant Improvement Plan (PIP)? It is a written plan in which you outline a schedule you intend to follow to get your operation into good condition and to maintain your operation in good condition. It is a guarantee that over time your building will need repairs and your equipment will need repairs or replacement. With a PIP you plan for and budget these expenses over time so you are less apt to incur large unexpected expenses. Without a PIP you may operate your plant for several years and then all of a sudden you realize your building needs major repairs and your equipment is outdated or in poor condition. The cost of trying to do the improvements all at once can be overwhelming.
A PIP can also help you plan for and prepare for the future. More than once I have seen a plant owner reach retirement age and either have a difficult time or be unable to sell their plant because of its “poor condition.” PIP is also an acronym for Performance Improvement Plan. A Performance Improvement Plan is a plan designed to increase the performance of employees. A Plant Improvement Plan is designed to increase the performance of your plant.
You should have a PIP for both your building and equipment. Your PIP should contain a short and a long-term time schedule. It should contain things you plan to address in the next 3 months, the next year and in the next 5-10 years. Things you might consider in your PIP for building(s) includes;
- Interior wall
- External walls
- Parking lots
- Exterior grounds
- Heating system
- Cooling system
- Electrical wiring
- Electrical cabinets
- Air lines
- Building security
- Major remodeling
- Plant replacement
*Floors seem to be particularly troubling and frequently need to be reviewed on a regular basis as part of a company(s) PIP. Your building(s) PIP should include all aspects of your building(s) and grounds.
You should also have a PIP for your equipment. Your equipment PIP can include such items as;
- Major equipment repairs or rebuilds
- Replacing current equipment with updated more efficient equipment
- Looking at existing process flows and determining if there are ways to increase production efficiency
It is critical to make certain you are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. Closely look at each process flow and identify what is the “bottleneck” in that process. It might not be the best decision to purchase a new grinder if the bottleneck in that process flow is the stuffer. If you thermal process products, look closely at your smokehouse(s). The way a product is thermal processed can have a significant impact on finished product quality and consistency. It can also have a significant impact on finished product yield. Yield is a key factor in ultimate product cost and potential profitability.
In order for your PIP to be effective you must be disciplined both in developing it and reviewing it. Every plant should be conducting quarterly internal audits to review production and food safety records. Why not review your PIPs at the same time. If you are falling behind on achieving certain goals of your PIPs a quarterly review of them is a good reminder of things that need to be done. Just as you reassess your HACCP Plans on an annual basis you should also reassess your PIPs on an annual basis to determine if they should be modified.
Having and following PIPs for building(s) and for equipment can have several extremely positive impacts on your company:
- Helps you plan for the future
- Helps keep your building(s) and equipment in good repair
- Helps you operate at maximum efficiency
- Helps assure company longevity
Remember: To be successful you need to “plan for success.”