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Even though more space may not be the main reason for a move, optimum usage of your new premises should be a key goal. Future expansion may depend on this.

To accomplish optimum usage, the starting point is to compile an accurate plant or asset list and draw up your new facility's floor plan. The asset list should be a detailed snapshot of all items owned or leased by the company at its current location at the present time.

Everything should be included in this asset list. When compiling your list, it is advisable to include all items, irrespective of size or value. Don't make the mistake of excluding benches, cabinets, etc.. They all take up space.

The finished asset list is then closely scrutinised for redundant, obsolete, or duplicate plant or equipment, which may need to be scrapped and/or replaced.

Costs and quotes for new items should be carried out as a separate exercise; however, allowance for their physical location should be made in your plans.

When a revised asset list has been made, a plant layout/product flow chart should be drawn up on the new facility's floor plan. This should be passed though a critical review process. Ideally, a team of people representing those areas that will be affected by product flow should carry out this review.

This team should come up with a list of shortcomings in the current system, and improvements wanted from it. Input from these reviews should be thoroughly assessed, and plant layout modified accordingly. Modifications may include moving a wall, changing utility outlets, making an access doorway, etc...

The modified plant layout should be reassessed by the review team, and this process continued until all are satisfied with the improvement.

Although this process can be time consuming, it is not a waste of time. Poorly laid out production lines will result in additional labour, energy and material usage, unnecessarily adding to each unit's production costs.

Assistance with optimum plant layout is available. It may be advisable to go to the expense of `Out Sourcing' this skill, and saving thousands of dollars in running costs. Please E-mail us for assistance.

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