When changing the existing layout of a facility or moving into a new factory, you want to ensure that the workflow is enhanced and that there is enough space for all you need to set up.
It is therefore important for you and your team to consider a few factors before choosing and implementing any particular factory design.
Work in Progress
Your team ought to ask themselves questions such as: In what way can we transfer WIP from one point to another? What is the best way of making sure that we are working on the job that needs to be worked on? In other words, how do we know if it is the correct one?
These will be needed for any manufacturing process. Final goods might involve several raw materials in different ratios. The team is likely to ask themselves questions such as:
- What method will we use to top up materials when they are depleted in any units?
- So there happens to be a quality problem; how do we alert the other teams about it?
- We need the materials to be positioned nearer to our workstations. How close can they be located?
- Is it necessary to incorporate forklifts into the cells?
Movement of People
Labour is mobile. The layout has to be created in such a way that answers the following:
- Can people move freely around the unit?
- Does this free movement help or hinder other people from performing their jobs?
There has to be an end product after every process that works on raw materials is done. Where will the finished assembly be transferred to? Will it be dispatched or moved along to the subsequent units?
Is a quality check necessary for the finished products?
The availability and accuracy of information greatly determine the value of the output. There are standards to be met, controls, and checks to be conducted on materials as they move on the production line and so on. It begs the questions:
- How well are the instructions presented for the teams?
- How do we get information on what is required to be made at a particular time?
Commodities that tend to be used up fast
These are also known as consumables. They get depleted quickly and need to be continuously replenished.
- What is it that we need?
- Where do we get what we require?
Most manufacturing processes incorporate some form of garbage as materials move along. Questions here will include:
- What is the best method of getting rid of integral waste?
- Does the method require the use of machinery such as forklifts?
The Bottom Line
Several layouts may need to be brought up, then the most appropriate one chosen from them. It is recommended that the factory layout is improved before shifting into a new building. This has been observed to be an excellent way to save on resources such as time and money.