industry experience


espi delivers solutions through creativity and deep industry know-how to companies in the food and beverage production, packaging and distribution sector. Our teams have enabled clients to significantly increase line outputs and reduce product waste in many diverse environments.


Each solution begins with careful study, and coupled with our proven industry expertise we ensure measured results for your organization. With a wide range of solutions from facility planning to supply chain and logistics, we help ensure control over scheduling, budget, safety and quality.


Related case studies

Operational Improvements – Decreased Production Costs to Increase Profitability

CHALLENGE – The Kraft Foods’ Lehigh Valley facility faced the possibility of a complete shut-down unless it decreased production costs and increased profitability. Kraft partnered with personnel from espi in a three-year strategic plan to streamline production, reduce inventory and increase labor utilization.


METHODOLOGY – The first task involved reducing the downtime caused by cleanouts and production changeovers on the cook and fill lines for salad dressings. Through process improvements, change-over downtime was reduced by 50% with a corresponding cost savings of $150,000.


The team then created a strategic model that correlated production amounts with finished goods inventory and tied the data into the current scheduling system. The model provided the necessary information to support 99% on time shipping for the customer and saved Kraft $600,000 annually.


By redesigning the external warehousing layouts, the team increased practical storage space by 20%, helped to create an improved finished goods tracking system for stock locations, and yielded savings of $500,000 per year by reducing the need for external storage space.


Manpower analysis showed that each production area could maintain production levels with fewer, flexible crews, thereby reducing the company’s dependence on temporary workers. This recommendation resulted in an annual cost savings of $100,000.


Perhaps the most important, the project team helped lay the groundwork for future improvements and provided the tools and impetus for Kraft facility to continue upgrading and improving operations on their own.

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Hatfield Meats – Facility Planning



Hatfield Quality Meats is a family owned regional pork producer. In an effort to increase production capacity and sales, Hatfield was interested in short-term improvements of their bacon processing operations and development of a strategic plan that would include possibly building a new processing facility.


espi personnel began by identifying and documenting improvement opportunities in order to enhance throughput, customer service and quality, while reducing costs. The project team analyzed the operation through time studies, interviews and extensive observations.

The project progressed with investigation of supply chain requirements. Team members collected input from customers, suppliers, and Hatfield personnel that yielded a detailed picture of the company’s ongoing requirements. After completing the preliminary investigation, the team constructed production process alternatives. A simulation model of the current operation revealed that throughput could be increased by 13% by eliminating bottlenecks and constraints.

Finally, a planning tool that allowed Hatfield to conduct “What If” analysis on space, equipment, and labor requirements was developed. The use of this tool in conjunction with the simulation model provided an optimum projection of current and future requirements for the operation.

Based on the project team recommendations, Hatfield decided to defer building a new facility until the business plan was finalized, thereby avoiding millions of dollars in an uncertain and flawed expansion plan. The new strategic planning process was modified to evaluate other business units. Hatfield is now beginning to implement various improvements that will yield them significant, profitable returns.

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Appeeling Fruit – New Facility Layout


Appeeling Fruit – New Facility Layout


Appeeling Fruit, INC (AFI) has been in business since 1991. They initially supplied apple slices as an industrial ingredient to bakeries. They then began to visualize opportunities on the customers’ level by attaining an apple product with a longer shelf life. In 1998, they began testing a new Vitamin C type treatment which enabled them to package tasty, fresh, ready-to-eat slices. espi in association with Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Lehigh University partnered with Appeeling fruit to assist in their new facility development and occupation.


Appeeling Fruit, Inc. (AFI) determined the space requirements needed based on future growth in the planning and selection of their new facility.


An initial layout was developed, locating the existing and new equipment into the new building. This conceptual layout was revised based upon FDA and customer requirements for separation of the three processing operations (Washing, processing and packing) into segregated areas. Budgets were developed for building purchase, renovation to the building, addition of new equipment, and movement of AFI’s current facility to a new location in Dauberville PA. As a result of the assistance provided in this project, Appeeling Fruit has successfully relocated to their new facility and started up their production operations. They are now able to operate two separate product lines independently. This allows them the ability to keep up with current demand and the opportunity to expand based on projected future business growth.

AFI is now able to keep up with the market demand of its current product, new packaging types (trays, etc) and expanded product offerings.  
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In 1993 when Second Harvest moved into an 18,000 sq. ft. facility in Allentown the thinking was that it was all the space they would ever need.  Over the years that facility had become quite cramped and with an additional 5,000+ square feet of offsite storage Second Harvest was bursting at the seams.  The lack of adequate storage forced Second Harvest to turn down offerings of food due to insufficient storage space.


espi partnered with Second Harvest to conduct a comprehensive assessment of all activities and storage needs.  espi provided a report identifying what space was required to meet current and future needs. The recommendation was for at least double the warehouse space and a massive (4-fold) increase in the cold storage capacity.


espi began the project by establishing an understanding of all facets of Second Harvest’s services from the dry goods storage, cold and frozen storage, as well as new programs like SUNShine boxes, Backpack Buddies, and Cooking Matters classes. espi also reviewed operations outside the facility and costs associated (rental fees, etc.) to provide business cases for consolidation of operations to a single location. Each facility was analyzed in each of the following categories:
  • Current Storage – Pallet Slots
  • Current Storage – # of Pallets
  • Receipts by Storage – Monthly Volume
  • Shopping Area
  • Warehouse – Racking and storage
  • Packing Area
Then, a review of the existing floor plans and CAD drawings was conducted to determine short-term improvements that could be made to the existing facility and incorporated into a new facility. These improvements were implemented while Second Harvest leadership evaluated warehouses to renovate or available land to design and build a facility that met their present and future needs. 2ndHarvest-2


Short-term results included improvements in the shopping area to gain additional pallet slots for product overflow. Visual identification was established in the warehouse area for increased safety and overall “Best Practices”. This also increased efficiency, safety code compliance and improved planning and resource utilization. Making the warehouse more efficient allowed for a reduction in the handling of material and delay times through easier location of product.

The long-term result was the purchase of a new facility located off Route 512 in Bath, making it accessible to many of the region’s major roadways and placing it in a more centralized location in the six-county region of the Second Harvest service area. espi reviewed the building structure and established an optimal layout of the operation.

The new facility provides Second Harvest with more than triple their previous square footage with ample space for a large freezer and cooler. A comfortable area for volunteers to work is also available while sufficient office space is now available for current and future staff. Loading and unloading has been made significantly easier with nine dock doors for shipping and receiving, including a drive-in ramp for vehicle loading in inclement weather, and plenty of area to help our member agencies when they come to pick up food orders.  
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