Factory Layout - Is your factory costing you money?

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Factory layout

One thing that manufacturers often do not appreciate is how much the physical layout of their factory influences the way their operation works and the cost of production. Some factory layouts seem to be designed to add both time to the processing of the product and cost to the product.

The table below shows most of the operations involved in manufacturing:

Only two operations add value to the product and these are machining and assembling - so why do we spend so much time carrying out other activities that add no value and only cost to the item?

Consider the following random points:

In many processes the primary activity is waste and this is not unusual in manufacturing. Before the paper pushers gloat it should be noted that manufacturing processes are generally better controlled than paperwork processes. It is not unusual to find that the paperwork to plan to manufacture a product takes more time to process than the manufacture of the product itself.

How to carry out a factory layout or process audit

This works just as well for your paper processes as for your materials processes. In fact if you have ISO 9002 then this is one of the first steps you should have done as part of getting certification.

Tangram Technology Ltd. has produced a longer workbook on factory layout for window manufacturers. This is available at a cost of £35 (inclusive of VAT and postage) from Tangram. See our Contact Details for mail address.

Last edited: 11/03/10

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