Many small processors may find themselves succeeding in spite of their existing facility. It may be out-of-date or not ideally suited to their needs, but it will suffice until a better opportunity comes along.
Construction plans


Unfortunately, the state of the economy may have kept companies from breaking ground on new facilities. The cost of construction may scare some people off, though many companies may find that the cost savings of a new plant will help to offset those costs.

NPC Processing, located in South Burlington, Vt., has been operating out of a former Swift beef-packing plant that was built in the 1960s. It also has a plant for cooked products about 30 miles away. For president Dan Desautels, constructing a facility that put everything under one roof made good business sense.

“As the business keeps growing, it seems like the more we do, the more it costs us, because of the way we're set up here,” he says.

NPC Processing, founded in 1995, has three different revenue streams. It produces proprietary protein products for multi-unit restaurant customers and sends products nationwide through the leading foodservice distributors. It also produces private-label products for distributors. Additionally, NPC specializes in Irish meat products, including black and white pudding, Irish back bacon and banger sausages. The company added the cooked plant in 2000 to accommodate the production of meatballs, Irish pudding and cook-in-bag products like carnitas.

Desautels says that the company's biggest logistical problem is that it has little storage in its facilities.

“We have a lot of stuff in outside storage, in excess of 25 loads of product in outside storage at any given time,” he says. “There's a lot of double- and triple-handling. We do what we've got to do, but it's not like you can make it, put it where it goes and keep it there until you ship it.”

After spending about three years planning for it, NPC broke ground this autumn on a new facility that will be completed by early 2012. The new building will be 27,000 square feet in size, more than three times the size of its current space. There will also be room for a 15,000-square-foot expansion in Phase Two.

Although the costs of a new construction are formidable, the savings that the company is projecting makes plenty of sense. By eliminating the need for outside storage and double-handling, Desautels says that the company will save approximately $12,000 to $15,000 a month with the new facility.

“We're also projecting about a 40 percent decrease in power for a building that's going to be almost three times the size of what we have right now,” he adds.

The new plant is located in an industrial park just a few miles from its current location. Because the company is growing so fast, Desautels has already tapped into its Phase Two expansion space to double the size of the cooler.

“We have 30 employees, and we started off with four,” he says of the company's growth. “We're on a pretty fast track as of late, and we've added a couple of new accounts this year. The production area is about 30 percent bigger, and we need that, with room to grow. It's going to be a well-oiled machine compared to how we're operating now.”