I’ve been posting a few comments on factory design. See Part 1 here. Here are a few more comments on what people do wrong as they design a new factory, or re-layout an existing one.
3. Secondary Flows
We place our primary material flow of raw material into WIP into finished goods on a pedestal and all other flows must be subservient to that. This is the way it should be, to a point. But there are a lot of resources, time, material and other problems with the material flows of dunnage, offal, waste streams, containers and so on. In one factory, their offal from a large blow molded product was almost 40% of material usage, but in volume was equal to the material coming in. This wasn’t considered, and they dedicated as much resources to taking care of this waste stream as they did the value added work.
4. Right Angles
This one kills me, especially as an engineer. Even if we’re not obsessive compulsive, we feel compelled to put everything, equipment, racks, aisles, at right angles. People don’t move at right angles. Forktrucks don’t either. Everything naturally flows in arcs. Why do we insist on putting 3 pieces of equipment in a straight row, then turn right 90 degrees, then two more pieces of equipment? Why do aisles have to be straight? Yes, there are some real constraints and they start with the outside walls, but just because Autocad automatically snaps our elements to a grid, doesn’t mean we have to do it in real life.
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