This is the 7th part of "9 Steps to Successful Plant Relocation". If you'd like to view other posts in the series, the links are available on this post’s right side menu (desktop) or at the end (mobile).
Planning is Everything! Just a Plan is Nothing.
These were the golden words of the 34th President of the United States - Dwight D. Eisenhower, an American General in charge of the D-Day invasion (aka Normandy landings).
This is true for when you are relocating the factory to a new location. You will need a lot of your time and effort towards executing the plan than building it. Setting a goal and defining its path is the best practice. But putting this plan in motion, aligned with your research & contingencies, is key to unlocking its long-term success.
So how do you execute correctly? In the seventh part of our “9 steps to successful plant relocation” series, you will discover several ways to successfully implement, monitor and adjust the plan to your current needs.
While these processes are labelled sequentially, some of these may likely occur in parallel to the previous steps. For instance, a Supplier Selection may take place when the construction is still underway.
Blueprint of the Layout
You should draw up a blueprint of your manufacturing plant’s layout and distribute it among all your architects and engineers on-board. It’s a critical process that briefs the entire team to understand where each machine will go as per the workflow.
It should include electrical jacks, exits, windows and ceiling heights. Provide access to other operators to do a final assessment and mitigate the possible risks.
You may be surprised to know that many factories ignore this process, assuming it is too apparent.
Our client’s factory engineer had buried the electrical wirings under the concrete before installing the machinery. Each time the layout changed, they had to break down the concrete - adding to increased costs and wastage of time.
Generate a Moving Budget
Start by creating a schedule with all the departments for days leading up to the relocation. They need to know their roles during the relocation process. Mistakes and miscommunications can lead to wasted time and money.
For instance, the sales team may need to adjust the fulfilment times with the customers. The finance team needs to account for all the possible costs. HR should be informed when you will need additional staffing.
Each team’s schedule will help you understand your moving budget. This includes delegating a manager to verify the plant’s readiness, making a packing & assembly guide, accounting for recalibration, assessing the equipment for its value and the cost of machinery movers.
If you consider these aspects and engage in carefully planning, the budget will be within 15% to 20% of your earlier estimates.
Successful Supplier Selection
Whether you want to work with existing suppliers or hire a new one will depend on your factory’s current requirements. While existing suppliers may cause minimal disruption, it is better to work with new suppliers.
New suppliers help in upgrading your supply chain. Working with them helps to understand the new market, provide a fresh perspective, analyze the shortcomings and locate areas for improvement.
It would be best to evaluate new suppliers on their partnership approach, reliability, quality, and value for money. A business’s reputation today is judged upon the labor practices of your suppliers. As such, it makes good business sense to consider the ethical parts of your new supply chain.
Refurbishing Construction Equipments
Due to the pandemic, the economic downturn has given way to manufacturers’ to consider refurbishment. At about half the cost of buying new, refurbishing an equipment may seem like a no-brainer. But to achieve cost savings and ensure equipment longevity, you must educate the equipment manager on five factors: what a refurbishment entails, what to look for in a service centre, when refurbishment is appropriate for a machine, the potential benefits of refurbishment, and what to expect post-refurbishment.
If you decide to create your refurbishment program, take into account its realistic timeline. It is a long process of one to two years for a large and complex facility. If the process is small, it may take over three months.
Plant Commissioning Process
Wouldn’t it be nice if every piece of equipment or system in the new factory works flawlessly from the start? This is possible if you have an extensive plant commissioning process in place.
Commissioning is a vital step towards the end of a plant’s construction. Its purpose is to hand over a safe, efficient and operation-ready facility to the owner. A systematic commissioning plan helps verify that the types of equipment installed are as per the design intent.
It is one of the best practices to involve your Commissioning Provider in the project early on, as he or she can influence the corrections without increased costs later.
Hire & Train for Skilled Manufacturing Workforce
Creative thinking and investment in advanced training programs will be your best bet for building a reliable talent pipeline.
It is imperative that your HR understands the changing demographics of a new plant and prepare for the next generation of skilled workers with a workforce development plan. It is also essential to create a training manual for new employees on the commissioned equipment.
Soft-Launch of Production Processes
You can slowly roll-out the processes as soon as you achieve a minimum production standard. The factory does not need to be fully complete to launch production. This process helps to test the waters.
It will be advantageous if you use a modular approach and add new modules as you go. Production launch can take place the moment one module is complete.
The data generated from the completed module can help build subsequent modules and expand production as needed.
The Full Production
You can fully launch the production process once all the planned modules are up and running. Using the blueprint developed previously, your team is aware of the plant's final look. Here is an example of a very efficient cellular manufacturing setup:
Congratulations! You should now have a successfully running new factory.
Over the next few months, you will uncover a detailed step-by-step guide with CMC on how to start a factory, using several case studies for inspiration.
If you have any questions on how to execute your factory processes or would like any additional guidance, you can schedule a free consultation with our relocation experts.