What is Plant Relocation
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- planning, project management, tips, guide, plant relocation
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We look at: What is plant relocation? And how is it carried out? There are many reasons why a plant, facility or factory will need to be relocated to another area.
Planning for a plant or facility relocation/moving
For whatever reason, manufacturing companies are guaranteed to move a factory, plant or facility during its lifetime, and that can be a daunting task, especially if it's a first. Plant relocation processes are major operations and require detailed planning.
Plant, facility and factory relocations/moves might be considered due to consolidation reasons, upscaling or infrastructure, location such as distribution, manufacturers, supply, equipment or customers, money reasons, and more. All of this can be streamlined with a concise laid out relocation/move plan.
Steps to Successfully Relocate Your Plants, factory or Facility.
1. Preliminary Information and Data
Whether locally, across or out of the country, plant, facility and factory relocations/moves require planning and understanding; you must understand the needs of your new factory or plant and the surrounding issues you must factor in.
Replicating your current installation means relocating your existing installation problems to a new location or doesn't factor in the new location and possible new installation issues to work around - this requires planning.
Data gathering can help you assess potential locations' benefits and how
current issues can be fully addressed. Without proper assessment, you
can amalgamate your old issues with possible new issues that were
overlooked due to negligence.
To fully understand and gather the necessary data, multiple perspectives must be utilised from Manufacturing and Assembly, Environmental, Construction, and Legal to Human Resources.
2. Initial Plan
The data collected prior will assist in creating the constraints and framework for the initial plan. It is worth noting that an initial plan isn't only a plan of action and for precaution and assessment.
Your chosen option may look the best at face value, but under the surface might not be as beneficial as once thought. It is worth fully evaluating all your options and even the chosen option further as certain things may have been overlooked, such as labour or tax rates.
3. Initial Project Plan
Once the first two steps have been successful and detailed, the initial project plan can be drafted; this includes all the production line steps from construction and modification to finalising the production.
Project plans should be realistic and contain a schedule per phase and time management methodologies to attain this goal and meet possible deadlines or have an estimated schedule for the project to be completed.
Other factors to note are machines, labour, contractors, cost, schedules, equipment, utility, resources and priority levels. An initial project plan is a key to all successful plant relocations/moves. Utilising methodologies such as 'modular' can help to organise and manage a project thoroughly and efficiently.
4. Setting Targets
Once the prior steps have been successful and detailed, your manufacturing business will have a defined understanding of the level of production you require. This includes cost, labour, utility, resources, transport of equipment and machines, and more.
Utilising the outlined project, you can now set targets for timelines, cost, and scope. Cost is the big one; even with the most modest understandings of pricing can leave you astonished. Cost is typically divided into two primary types; investment costs and recurring costs.
Investment costs are generally one time purchases that benefit the future of your industrial business or the factory. These costs are easy to estimate as you can pay the full payment upfront and budget for these costs and services.
Recurring costs are more complicated and can be overwhelming. Recurring costs are key to maintaining and increasing profitability and include factors such as labour or contractor costs, services, restocking inventory, etc.
Without proper understanding and assessment of recurring costs, manufacturing companies can become significantly impacted in many areas. They can benefit hugely from this assessment and see large rises in these areas.
5. Contingency Plan
A contingency plan is preparing for unforeseen issues, such as putting additional money aside for overruns or delays or issues regarding HR.
While some issues might easily be solved, other issues might cause large setbacks, derail operations or cause changes down the line. Contingency plans allow flexibility and ensure that targets maintain achievability with little to no deviation.
6. Confirm Plan
Once the prior steps have been finalised thoroughly, your industrial business will have a defined, confirmed plan. To affirm your plan, a checklist will be needed to ensure all the prior work and planning doesn't go awry and that your plant relocation/move goes smoothly.
A typical checklist for plant relocation/move is split into five segments; industrial site selection, exterior layout drawings, interior layout drawings, labour requirements and planning, and project management plans.
7. Execute, Monitor & Adjust
Multiple copies of blueprints and layout drawings should be produced and distributed across your architect groups or engineering team to create a distinct vision. Blueprints and layout drawings are precise schematics and allow for your architect team and engineering team to all be on the same page and understand how the machinery and equipment are fitted and has their place.
Some worthy inclusions include; exits, windows, heights, equipment storage, access points needed for the machinery or equipment and electrical jacks. Schematics and layout drawings can help to avoid issues such as burying wiring under concrete and needing to break down said concrete or dismantling the machinery to access said wiring once more.
Supply and equipment selection is also pertinent to plant relocation/moving, whether you keep your current suppliers or hire new ones.
Supplier selection will heavily rely on your factory's or plant's needs and location; your old supplier may be farther away, leading to increased transport or equipment costs or dispatch times.
Local or new suppliers may be more beneficial or cost-effective to your new factories needs and may provide better utility or equipment. Once all plans and preparations are made, you can effectively launch production on plant relocation/moving, utilising said plans and preparations, Including dismantling and packing machinery and equipment.
8. Result Analysis
These next two steps are for post-relocation/moves. Result analysis not only helps you in how you can improve for the next plant relocation/move but also help to validate the set targets and is free to perform.
Lessons learned from projects can help to save time and money in the long run and for future endeavours. This can mean more money for equipment or can prevent any issue revolving around your equipment that may have occurred.
From years of experience, you will learn it is always best to split an assessment into two; what could be controlled and what couldn't. Assessment for what couldn't be controlled should focus on avoiding said scenarios rather than how to better handle them or how to handle them differently.
The other primary assessments should include; launch date, budget, schedules, targets, condition (i.e. equipment) and any unexpected positives.
9. Maintain & Improve Processes
Was the factory relocation/move successful? A relocation/move project doesn't end once it has been successfully completed; once production starts again, projects require upkeep and maintenance.
A process control plan can be beneficial within these phases of operations. A process control plan comprises all the processes and testings within an assembly and manufacturing facility. It allows for reviews, such as finding and eradicating waste or inefficiency and foreseeing delays such as within production or equipment.
Testings through process control plans can help with maintenance and review finished systems and pinpoint any exploits, and finding solutions to loopholes in the manufacturing facility or with equipment. Improving and reviewing are free and can help to improve future moves and help to improve a recent one.