Looking to improve the efficiency of your candy kitchen? Rethinking the layout of your kitchen is a great place to start. RCI member Greg Power with Las Olas Confections and Snacks shares tips, plus which areas to focus on for the most impact in this week’s post.
When reviewing your production layout, first, take measurements of your equipment and space. Draw a diagram of your space on paper; create scale cut outs of equipment and other movable items so you can move the items around easily. This will allow you to visualize the best placement of your equipment and help with layout options to maximize production and product flow.
Your production space should be enclosed and it should not open directly to outside areas; this will help with security and reduce exposure to outside elements. Smooth, walls, tile cove base and sealed concrete floors or tile flooring are all preferred for ease of cleaning and washing down. Storage racks should be off the ground and away from the walls (check for local health codes for how far off the ground and how far away from the walls is required). Any non-food contact equipment that can be stored or installed out of the production area is preferred and may open up additional kitchen space if stored elsewhere. Air compressors, boilers, cleaning equipment, etc. should all be stored away from production.
The kitchen production area is the beginning of your entire process; which is why outflow from the kitchen should be smooth and effortless as the product moves to your production lines. If space permits, your kitchen should be separated, but adjacent to your slabbing or table room. This setup is the most efficient process for getting product off of the tables and on your production lines. If your tables are water-jacket cooled and you have a temperature-controlled cooling room available (at least 60˚F/15˚C), this will offer the most efficiency for cooling your products as quickly as possible from batch to production. You want to remove the heat from the product as fast as possible without sweating it.
From slabbing, product should go straight into enrobing or coating. This area should be as close to the slabbing or cutting area as possible. If you are hand dipping, multiple stations can be set up adjacent to the slabbing area. From enrobing or coating, products should flow straight into cooling tunnels then into the packing area. After packing, product may be stored in a cool, dry place for several days at 65˚ F/18˚C before transport.
If space permits, avoid turns and curves within the process. Fewer transitions and handling of product will reduce labor. All equipment should be on legs, stands or wheels off the floor and away from walls; it should be easily accessible from all sides for easy cleaning and maintenance.
Production space should be limited to items needed for a specific run, excess equipment, cooling racks and raw materials. Work-in-process can reduce your ability to run efficiently and cause increased labor inefficiencies. Fine tuning some of these areas could have a surprising impact on the efficiency of your team.
Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.