Facility planning has developed, in the past decade, into a major thriving business sector and discipline. One of the major reasons for new facilities is the global economic boom that has been accompanied by an enhancement of capacity worldwide.
In addition to the global economic boom, there are several other reasons for changing or adding locations:
The cost or availability of labour, raw materials, and supporting resources often change. These changes in resources may spur the decision.
As product markets change, the geographical region of demand may shift. For example, many international companies find it desirable to change facility location to provide better service to customers.
Companies may split, merge, or be acquired by new owners, making facilities redundant.
New products may be introduced, changing the requirement and availability of resources.
Political, economic and legal requirements may make it more attractive to change location. Many companies are moving facilities to regions where environment or labour laws are more favourable.
‘Facility Planning’, as used in this lesson, denotes the generic meaning of the term. The term is used to include location, land, buildings, equipment, furnishings and all other such provisions to the physical capability of the organisation that add to its value.
Well-planned facilities enable an organisation to function at its most efficient and effective level, offering real added value improvements to the organisation’s core business.
Facilities are expensive. Their lifetime is in decades. They take years to commission. Since an organisation normally must live with the facility for several years, any mistakes in choices can be very costly to the organisation. This is why facility design and the strategic thinking that should precede it are so important.
An objective assessment of the actual facility needs, supported by a foundation of market, utilisation, operations, and financial data, can save millions in unnecessary renovation and construction costs, as well as help create new revenue streams, and reduce ongoing operational costs. A multidisciplinary approach to facility planning integrates strategic business planning, operations redesign, financial analysis, and equipment/technology planning.
The objective for any facility that is created should be the following:
It should be located such that it provides better value to customers.
It should be equipped such that it meets the needs of the population it services.
Once located, the facility should ensure a blend of an efficient work environment and maintain the most productive processing and flow in transformation or manufacturing process.
Though factory layout is the focal point of facility design in most cases and it dominates the thinking of most managers, yet factory layout is only one of several detail levels. It is useful to think of facility planning at four levels, these are:
Global (Site Location)
Macro (Site Planning)
Micro (Facility and Building Layout)
Sub-Micro (Workstation Design)