Manufacturing Investment in Thailand

Colin Bird
FMC Corporation is investing over US$100m in a new world-class food ingredient manufacturing facility in Rayong, Thailand. The new plant ensures the company’s long-term ability to supply the growing Asia market.

FMC Corporation’s new manufacturing facility in Thailand is expected to begin production in Q1-2015, giving FMC a strategically important capacity increase in its industry-leading Avicel® colloidal microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), a food and beverages ingredient. The design allows for the future volume expansion and manufacturing of different product lines. This is the region’s first fully integrated colloidal MCC manufacturing and blending site, allowing swifter supply to the Asian marketplace.

FMC is committed to supporting its growing customer base in the region. In 2012, the company opened a new advanced food laboratory at the FMC Singapore Technical Centre, and its new Asia Innovation Centre in Shanghai opens later this year.

The Rayong plant is FMC’s third MCC manufacturing facility, incorporating the high standards of safety and environmental protection demonstrated at the company’s recently expanded BioPolymer MCC sites in Newark, Delaware, US, and Cork, Ireland. The Rayong project has already been recognised for its sustainability efforts by the Thailand National Innovation Agency.

Faithful+Gould has been involved with FMC’s Rayong project since concept design stage. Our work began in Singapore, but in order to service this contract, we have established a formalised presence in Thailand. The commission demonstrates our commitment to support our global clients in their chosen locations wherever possible. Our regional project portfolio also includes a completed manufacturing commission in Rayong and a high-end residential commission in Phuket.

Thailand is an attractive location for inward investors looking to establish manufacturing operations in Southeast Asia.

Thailand is an attractive location for inward investors looking to establish manufacturing operations in Southeast Asia. There are some very high-quality industrial estates and good supporting infrastructure, with adequate power, data facilities and labour. Permitting is straightforward and the project language is English. The construction market is less mature than Singapore, but comparable with China. Safety management is challenging, but FMC’s strict requirements to adhere to global best practices have ensured that contractors demonstrate high levels of safety compliance and awareness.

Faithful+Gould is responsible for project management, schedule, cost management and quality management on the Rayong project, with five full-time client representatives on site. Our role began with a capital investment exercise, followed by development of a bespoke contract. We led the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPC) tendering process; project execution is now nearing mechanical completion and initial commissioning stages are under way. With the support of our Singapore colleagues, we have also led planning and scheduling risk workshops.

We are drawing on our depth of experience in the global manufacturing industry to support FMC’s compliance requirements. Our quality management role monitors the process installation as well as the building. Requirements include industry standard global manufacturing good practice, FMC’s in-house quality assurance standards, and Thailand’s local standards. Challenges have included finding suitable resource, import and export regulations (most equipment has to be imported from the US, China and Europe), employment legislation, and the monsoon season’s effect on site conditions.

Large-scale construction was a new challenge for FMC, so we led an exercise to help the company better understand its capital projects...

The Rayong project forms part of our global relationship with the Philadelphia-headquartered FMC Corporation. Our first commission was an ongoing capital project in Argentina, where we added value to a complex and politically charged situation. By delivering an audit of its spending and re-forecasting budgets, we enabled FMC to make critical business decisions on existing and planned projects at its Argentina plant.

Large-scale construction was a new challenge for FMC, so we led an exercise to help the company better understand its capital projects, identifying areas for improvement and enabling more informed decision-making. FMC then asked us to develop project management proposals for operations in Argentina, Wyoming, US, and Thailand, providing owners’ representative services. We have guided FMC in developing protocols and procedures for the creation of its new corporate engineering group, helping to identify skillsets and enabling FMC to have a more sustainable capital projects management infrastructure that we continue to support.

We have used our project management and commercial services expertise to protect and maximise FMC’s interests and meet its business objectives, and we continue to support the company’s capital projects in the US, Brazil, China and Thailand.