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Author: rorschach
Time: 01/12/03 18:59 PST
This is a reply to message no. 10346 by rolschwarz
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Moving the plant/manufacturing area?
And extending that a bit further, talk to the shop managers and even the grunts doing the work. Ask them where the problems (if any) are and if they have any ideas to make things more efficient/easier. Are you moving because the rent is too high or are you outgrowing the space you have. If things work OK as they are and you are moving for reasons not directly related to production issues, then simply replicating your current layout should be fine, but I'd be willing to bet you'll have to modify the layout if for no other reason than the simple fact the the floor plan of the new facility will be different. it is usually best if the person doing the plant layout is relatively familiar with the production process. try to visualize how well YOU would perform the tasks required in a given plant configuration. if YOU can't figure out how, likely as not, neither will your production people. Simply going by square footage can be misleading too because sometimes the configuration of the space does not lend itself to easy usage. My advice, form a group from the people you have, the group should include: You, the shop supervisor(s) and one or two representatives from the production crew, preferably some of the more senior people who know the products best.  Sit down with them with the (scaled!) floor plan and layout of the old facility and a floorplan (again, scaled!) and do the old paper doll approach and see how things fit and get a consensus among the people doing the work whether the layout is workable (see if you can get the boss to spring for pizza or something and do it over lunch, you'd be suprised how cooperative the shop people can be if you feed em...). don't forget things like lighting fixture location, electrical power location, shop air and water plumbing if needed. I'd be willing to bet you've got enough skills in-house to pull this off.
I have always tried to listen to the guys down in the trenches, they often know more about product problems and design flaws than the engineering group do. If you treat them like the equals that they are, you'll get alot more feedback coming from them. Remember, as an engineer, you may come up with the concept and even a first cut at how to put it together, but these guys will either have to live with decisions you make or will have to find a way to get around them. if they have input to the decisionmaking process, they will be much more likely to accept things when compromises have to be made. treat this move planning session as a detailed design review and make sure all the people who'll have to live with your decisions get a say in the process and things should be fine. Far too many engineers get "upity" and think that just because the guy on the shop floor doesn't have a BSME, he must not know anything. That my friend is bullsh*t! they usually know as much or more about the situation as the engineer.
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