Friday, October 26, 2012

Top 5 Indicators You Might Benefit from a New Plant Layout

It’s the nature or nurture question for business. How much does the environment shape the workforce? OSHA regulations and workforce safety issues aside, are there things that a company can do to improve employee performance and product output? This goes beyond cleanliness, which we would file under workforce safety. Let’s take a look at our list of top 5 indicators.
5. You walk more than a mile in your (or someone else’s) shoes during your shift
4. You spend more time looking for your tools than using your tools.
3. CO emissions from the constantly moving hi-lo transporting materials in and out of your facility have you doing the Macarena (not that there’s anything wrong with that)
2. You have to climb the mountain of inventory to reach your work station or worse yet – the break room.
And the number one indicator
1.    Whenever you run out of space, you just add a room to your facility.
All kidding aside, the main reasons to consider a revised layout are to improve processes, reduce wasted work or non-value added steps (things that consume resources but adds no value to the product or service), and increase value added work or processes that the customer is willing to pay for - things that transform the product, service or information; in other words, to increase profitability.
A better process flow has many well known benefits such as eliminating over production, reducing wait times, balancing work load to name a few. Some of the unintended benefits include a more engaged workforce and utilization of talent – inviting the people involved in the day to day manufacturing process to articulate improvements. One MMTC client, facing huge obstacles, including incredible foreign competition, was able to use a plant layout and other lean tools to radically change the way it did business.
The end result was updated machinery, a new process, ISO 9001 compliance, an increase in volume of 9.8% and a savings of over $500,000. In addition, the company reduced lead time by 33%, reduced its footprint by 16%, reduced consumption of natural resources by 26%, and reduced work in process from two weeks to three days. What the company reported as the best part, however, was the employee engagement. Once visual cues and other modifications were introduced, no one wanted to be left out. Everyone wanted to be involved in the changes and make improvements in their workspace. The bottom line savings were successfully reinvested in research and development for new products. Every new improvement added a spark to the job. It became exciting to go to work again. In sports terms, that’s a home run.
To find out more about reducing waste, improving margins, streamlining processes or other business improvements, contact an MMTC business specialist today.

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