If you’re building a new facility or renovating an existing one, there’s nothing more important to your success than the design and layout of the facility. It not only has a major impact on the production process, but also on your employees, customers, equipment, and operation as a whole.
This is true whether you own a manufacturing facility, a retail center, or a company in the service industry. Ensuring your company is set up to succeed with quality and effective facility design has to be your top priority before any employee or customer steps foot in your facility or store.
Don’t worry, we’re going to detail everything you need to know about facility design, including what it is, how facility location factors in, the different types of facility layouts, and the many benefits of quality facility planning. By the time we’re done, you’ll be on your way to success.
So, what is facility design?
Put simply, facility design is the overall layout of your facility -- including the equipment, work stations, offices, fixtures, machinery, and more. It’s an important component in your business’s activities and facilities management. When done correctly and properly, you’ll stand to benefit.
Your main objective here is to contribute to a smooth process flow, maximize the use of space, enhance safety, ease communication between team members, meet changing production processes, maintain employee morale, and ensure flexibility for future considerations.
When you take all of those factors into consideration from the start, you eliminate the risk of production challenges and complaints from employees/customers. You’ll reduce costs, increase savings, and ensure your facility is put in a position to succeed for many years to come.
Does Facility Location Matter?
In addition to facility design, facility location plays a major role in the success of your facility. This is true whether you’re building a new facility or searching for an existing facility to renovate. The location of your facility must meet certain requirements in order to maximize your results.
For example, your facility location should be in close propinquity to customers, workers, and suppliers. You should also take into account quality of life in that area, environmental regulations, state and local financial incentives, and the possibility of expanding in the future -- if needed.
The 4 Distinct Types of Facility Design
Going back to facility design, there are four distinct types of plant layout designs you should consider. They each provide their own unique set of benefits, uses, and layout requirements, which is why it’s important you choose the right one. Don’t worry, we’ll explain further below.
Let’s take a closer look at the four significantly different facility layouts -- including process layout, assembly line layout, fixed position layout, and hybrid layout -- that could make or break your facility’s success:
This type of layout is centered around the production process. Since certain workers are given similar tasks, they’re grouped together for improved efficiency. As the product moves through production, it’ll move from one workstation to the next until it makes its way to the final stages.
Assembly Line Layout (Product Layout)
Also known as product layout, the assembly line layout is reserved for high volume repetitive operations. By arranging workstations in a straight line, your laborers can process a large number of products in a short amount of time. This maximizes productivity and efficiency.
Fixed Position Layout
A fixed-position layout is reserved for products that can’t easily be moved, such as a stadium, construction project, airplane, or ship. Instead, the workers and/or customers must move to or around it as needed. It’s also effective for on-site services, such as a pest control business.
A hybrid layout is exactly as it sounds, a combination of the three facility layouts listed above. They’re best reserved for versatile and flexible manufacturing systems when producing a wide range of different products. They’re hard to plan and design, but worth it when done right.
Benefits of Quality Facility Layout Design
Now that you understand what facility design is and some of the most effective facility layouts available, you’re likely wondering what you can achieve with quality facility layout design. To be honest, you’ll be surprised by just how big of an impact it can have on your daily operation.
Of course, some business owners need further convincing because they don’t truly understand what they have to gain with this. Let’s take a closer look at five of the most prominent benefits of quality facility design and why you shouldn’t overlook it when planning out your new facility:
Space Utilization & Workplace Safety
Quality facility planning is essential when maximizing the space you have, which is ultimately what every business owner wants. It also allows you to maintain safety and standards that are set by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Minimize Machine Interference
The various machinery throughout your facility is supposed to increase productivity and efficiency, but poor facility design can actually do the opposite. The last thing you want is your machines to interfere with the production process and cause a nuisance to your process flow.
Ensure High Employee Morale & Job Satisfaction
Good facility design is something many employees look for when finding and keeping a job. In fact, many people would either choose a lower-paying job or give up certain benefits if it means choosing a job that takes facility design seriously. It increases morale and keeps them happy.
Avoid Bottlenecks & Clogged Traffic Lanes
Bottlenecks can compromise the smooth flow of a facility and minimize the efficiency of certain production processes. When traffic lines are clogged and workers/customers are getting in each other’s way, it leads to a great deal of frustration and headaches that lower morale and retention.
Provide Ample Room for Future Expansion
You never truly know what the future holds, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for it. Quality facility design takes into account your future endeavors and ensures your facility is easily expanded by providing ample room for those expansions -- should they ever come.