Inside Out

As many of you have probably experienced with children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews, they get to the age where they want to be very independent. One way of showing independence is getting themselves dressed. Typically, this isn’t a problem, except when they come out of their room with clothes on inside-out. Even so, it’s a simple fix to get things back the right way. Not only have I seen this haste and confusion with my children and grandchildren, but I sometimes see it in business too. Some clients are hasty and want to design their facility from the outside-in, rather than from the inside-out. This too, can be a simple fix if it is caught early enough. Let me tell you what I mean…

We got a call several weeks ago about a proposed new manufacturing facility. This new facility would be producing an established product, but using new/emerging technology. With all of this in mind, the client knew that his new building had to be designed from the inside-out. We all agreed that the process is what brings value to him, and his building is there to protect and support that value. We found that the form and physical attributes of the building would be determined by balancing the flow of product through the building. So, while our client stayed focused on the product, we got focused on the process, and then the facility.

Here are three steps that you can use to design your next facility from the inside-out:

  • Develop the Process Flow Diagrams. A process flow diagram is one of the major pieces of your first design step. The diagram includes production rates/capacities and is generally arranged in the order or sequence of the process. The ultimate goal of the diagram is to “balance” the rate of production from beginning to end.
  • Equipment Layout. Based on the process flow diagram, the next step is to arrange the major pieces of production equipment in a plan taking into account needs for, utilities, service/maintenance access area, and paths or aisles through a facility for moving materials from one operation to another within the process.
  • Facility. The third step in the process is to wrap the equipment layout with a building/facility. You will identify any site constraints, column locations/bay sizes and code issues. Finally, add any support areas like offices, employee facilities, utility rooms, etc. to the equipment layout.

These steps will produce the criteria for your corporate decision making process. Designing from the inside-out offers the greatest opportunity of meeting your long and short term goals. Call me; I can help you design your next project from the inside-out. PDMi wants to be a part of your team!

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