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Successful Plant Relocation #6: Confirming a Final Plan

April 24, 2021

 by David Collins III

Factory production belt line

This is the 6th 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).

Our latest relocation planning guide has arrived at stage 6 of finalizing and future-proofing the plan. So far, the relocation steps revolved around setting realistic targets, identifying staff requirements, sorting budgets and securing the project with potential risks. 

In this blog, we are going to use a greenfield manufacturing facility as an example. Most of these questions and best practices apply to a brownfield as well.  Below are some of the relocation checklists that will help you in finalizing the move. These questions will help align the operations and develop a timeline for your new factory:

A Checklist to Finalize your Plant Relocation 

1. Site Selection

Typical considerations include:

  • Any special needs regarding utilities?
  • Any special requirements for minimizing the impact on the environment (e.g., water treatment facility?)
  • Should most of the operators be local or migrant? Is there a need for a dormitory?
  • Are special skills needed (e.g., ceramics in the Jiangmen/Kaiping area)?
  • How much space is required?
  • Is transportation infrastructure adequate?
  • What is the political climate around the vicinity of the factory?

2. Manufacturing Facility's Exterior Layout Plan

Typical considerations include:

  • How is the building going to look?
  • Will it be on a single floor to simplify material movement or spread over multiple floors?
  • Do you need elevators? How many?
  • Do you need a large office? Or do you prefer the production and engineering staff to be on the same floor level as the factory, where they can directly drive improvements?
  • Will a nice-looking building be a selling point for your customers?
  • Do we have to look for appropriate properties accordingly? 

3. Manufacturing Facility's Interior Layout Plan

Typical considerations include:

  • How should the machine, assembly, and packing lines be laid out? How to integrate them compactly to increase productivity?
  • How will internal logistics be organized? What about point-of-use inventory? 
  • How much work-in-process will be allowed in production, and how much space will it occupy?
  • How much space would you need for future growth? (We recommend to pre-plan the space allocation beforehand, as it is a cost-effective methodology than investing in re-structuring the layout later.)
  • Can a sizeable portion of the office be dedicated as an ‘open space’ to improve communication and minimize side deals? How much space can you allocate for a closed office, meeting room, etc.?

It is worth noting that just because something worked in your previous factory does not mean that it will work in a new setup. The relocation allows a fresh start and a way to implement changes that may have been difficult at the previous location. 

Here is a simple example of a planned production layout:

Example pf Planned Production Layout

4. Manpower Planning & Staffing Requirements 

Typical considerations include:

  • Will some workers be relocated from the previous factory? How do you ensure that the new facility is geared up for production while keeping the old facility running for a specific time? 
  • Will the staff be required several weeks before the operations begin? Will the operators and supervisors need relevant training?
  • How many operators are needed? What skills do they need? 
  • Do we need electrical or process engineers to manage automation?
  • How many head office hires? Does the business require English-speaking professionals? 
  • Should they be local hires? Will a transportation system be organized to pick them up in the morning? 

Here is an example of a process flow chart, including several operators and tools requirement:

Manpower Planning and Staffing Requirements - A Process Flow Chart

5. Project Management Plan

Typical considerations include:

  • Will you need on-site assistance (such as CMC) to follow up daily? What parts of the project will be more intense?
  • Will you need new talent with technical capabilities for setting-up production processes?
  • Will these processes be for an existing product or a new product? 
  • Will you need a template process in place for every new product initiation? 
  • How critical are the timelines? Will one month delay cause a one-month loss of production time?
  • Can certain phases of the project be done in parallel rather than sequentially? For example, an equipment supplier can start building their hardware before the whole building is ready.

The Bottom Line

When you are at the final stage of planning, it is essential to fine-tune every detail of your project. An elaborate project plan outlines clear and measurable goals with realistic timelines. We generally allocate 10-20% additional time to the project plan to prevent unforeseen delays. The plan should be developed, including all the key stakeholders responsible for plant relocation. 

CMC has decades of experience in developing relocation plans. As of February 2021, CMC is assisting two clients with their plant relocation. 

CMC is committed to providing you with the latest quality content and insights, download our FREE guide to plant relocation now.

plant relocation


Topics: Production Planning, New Factory Setup, Project Management Systems, Process Improvement, New Product Introduction, Plant Relocation, Green Manufacturing

David Collins III

David Collins III

David was a Senior Strategy Consultant for Deloitte, served in Iraq as a Special Operations Civil Affairs soldier, and as a Governance Advisor to the Afghan Government with the Department of State. At CMC, David advises clients on strategy and investments.

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