Space is always a luxury in manufacturing facilities. And those that have extra space, always find something to use it for. So how effectively are you utilizing the space in your plant? Here we are not just referring to house keeping, or floor density. There is more than that to factory layouts.
Here we bring in the issue of material flow through production. How many time do you handle your work in progress (WIP)? The less the better. So design your layout to comply with the least handling, and the least transportation of your WIP through the process.
Take into consideration that you might need buffer stock space before work centers. This requires space. Especially before your bottleneck operation
In most cases we have found that factory layouts are correctly designed in the beginning. Then things change on the floor. Capacity expansion with new machines or with replacement machines. New products are developed and so on. The result is that the layout needs to change, but how do you do this? What are the future production capacity requirements and how can we improve the synergies of common operations on the floor?
Don’t let the unnecessarily high WIP levels on the floor lead you to believe you need to change your layout to get more space…