So You Found a New Building Space for Your Small Company, The Next Step Is…
Congrats, you were chosen to create an optimized layout for production, locate all the office areas for each department for maximum efficiency, and be sure you have some areas for growth. Now what?
Chat, plan, repeat. First, you need to find out the needs of each area so you can begin so see the scope of the project happening inside the four new walls the company has chosen. Next, I would suggest creating some preliminary plans on how to achieve the needs from each group. This method could include preliminary floor layouts, equipment lists, supply storage areas, etc. You may also want to do some spaghetti diagrams of typical product builds or activities in the ‘as is’ state to benchmark the current conditions. Then try to duplicate the same process on the layout plans to ensure there are more efficiency and less lost time walking from place to place with the proposed layout. Once you and your ‘customers’ have agreed on the plan forward, create the master drawing and working budget to send through the approval process. When you get the green light, get going!
Depending on the size of your company, the number of different product lines it has, and the support you can achieve from the affected groups, this process could take several weeks to many months for large complex companies.
With mid-size to large companies, a Plant Engineering group may handle most of the activities. For start-ups through small company sizes, someone in Manufacturing Engineering or Operations group would likely be leading the efforts. When cash is tight, but the need is strong, instead of using an expensive 2 or 3-D CAD system, Visio Professional may be a suitable answer to your situation.
Visio not only works great for timelines, workflow charts, organization charts, but it also has an office and building layout templates that can be sized to scale. Visio includes click and drag stencils for furniture, tables, doors, windows, etc. that are easily added to complete the entire layout on a standard 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper. If you have a larger printer, it’s only easier, but for the cash-challenged companies, this method can work quite nicely. Larger (22”- 24”) computer monitors also make the work easier. The cost difference between a $200ish Visio software download and $1500+ CAD software is significant enough to give Visio a second look in my view. I just thought you should know. Good luck!