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FoodPro Melbourne 2023 – Podcast interview with Food & Drink Business

In July this year, CDE Design Solutions exhibited at the biannual FoodPro event in Melbourne. The event attracted over 9,000 visitors and showcased over 385 exhibitors over a 4-day period. 

The team from Food & Drink Business were there and Pippa Haupt from Food & Drink Business, talked live with our very own Peter Sackett about the show, CDE and the latest in food industry engineering projects. 

Pippa: Pete, tell me a little about the history of CDE Design Solutions. 

We established our company 23 years ago. CDE Design Solutions supports food and beverage, as well as other manufacturers, in an engineering capacity to make sure their factories are well designed and will perform well for them from an engineering point of view. 

Pippa: And what’s brought you to FoodPro this year.

Food, beverage and all the allied industries that support it such as ingredients manufacturers, etc are some of our core business areas, and the people that come to FoodPro are the manufacturers themselves.  

They need to know about us because they might choose to buy a shiny machine from one company and another shiny machine from another company and then something else and something else and then they walk away with fabulous shiny machines, all of which do what they need. 

BUT, although they’re experts in what they do in their manufacturing, they’re not experts in putting those machines together within their factory to ensure optimal performance, space utilisation and manufacturing output whilst also accounting for WHS rules, access rules and other such regulations. 

That’s where we come in.  

We are the design and process engineers who make all of the shiny machines operate harmoniously and in unison. 

Pippa: What are some of the solutions that you offer and what sets them apart from everyone else’s solutions? 

We acknowledge that our clients are the expert in what they do. We can never take on the role of being a marketing manufacturing business. That’s not our business at all. When we work with them, we treat them as the very informed clients they are.  

They know what they want. They know their markets; they know their products.  

We, in turn, know how to put factories together for them to achieve their goals.  

Amongst many other services, with the use of sophisticated scanning and measurement instruments we can build new 3D factories inside the scans themselves, to ensure we account for components, machines, parts, and processes.  

We can produce plans for our clients and share the development with them online, so often times, we don’t even have to be on site after the initial scans are completed. Much of the work can be done from our own office. However, when necessary, we’ll go to site. In fact, at any given time, and depending on the project size, we have dedicated staff on-site for long periods of time. We’re all factory people, it’s in our DNA.  

Pippa: Even though we’ve only had a short time at FoodPro, what’s something that’s surprised you about the show so far.  

Some people are just coming past and saying, “We weren’t expecting to find a company like you here”.  

There are a few other bigger players in our industry but we’re pretty unique in what we do and there’s not a lot of companies, our size that businesses can approach.  

There are, of course, the big firms and if your project is $500 million +, they are great companies to go to.  

There are a lot of businesses, however – even the largest Tier One players who only want to change say one or two production lines or may have additional equipment that must fit their current process – who have a medium size project for which they need our expertise.  

These are the customers who come along to say “I didn’t expect to find you here, but I’m glad we did. We have this plan, and we don’t know how to execute it. Can we chat?” 

Pippa: What are you most looking forward to telling people or sharing with people?

I think it’s just an understanding about the CDE Design Solutions difference.  

We don’t claim to be experts in what they, our clients, do. Our clients are the experts.  

We are however experts in our field of design and process engineering and together, we can develop, optimise, and grow their business. When they need that engineering support, that factory layout support, they may not know where to turn and that’s why exposure for us at events such as FoodPro is so important.  

We contribute our expertise to their factory and process design, either as their engineering team or alongside their existing team. We’re involved with our clients for as long, or as short, as they require.  

Pippa: Is there one particular challenge or example faced by your ideal client on which you could elaborate? 

Certainly. At shows such as FoodPro, a lot of people come for the shiny stuff; the latest and newest machines and fittings, and while they absolutely know what they want, when swept up by the latest and greatest, they sometimes forget that the machinery must all be set up, within existing infrastructure and work seamlessly with existing machinery, software, and production lines. 

A huge challenge for all factories, for example is something that would not even be discussed when purchasing new machinery – waste streams. At just about every part of the process, there’s something added, something created and there is usually, also at every part of the process a waste stream requirement. 

Whilst focus is concentrated on the inputs and the raw materials, often the waste outputs are not managed and if not recognised right at the start, by design and process engineers such as CDE, factories can wind up in a real mess, with tens of thousands of dollars (or more) of additional, unexpected, and unnecessary expense.  

The interview has been slightly modified for written clarity. Watch the full podcast below