Designing a Lean Facility

Lean design techniques can and should be incorporated during early design and layout development. Leaning the facility, i.e., optimizing sizing and layout before a facility is in operation provides a chance to optimize travel paths, storage spaces, material handling processes, equipment, etc. Facilities and their layouts also play an important role in ensuring product quality is not compromised. Some of these incidences could be attributed to human intervention, variability in operations or processes, time constraints to meet customer demands, to name a few. For instance, poorly designed workflows may increase Out of Spec time, add to the number of touches to the product, increase the risk of cross-contamination, etc.; all of which negatively influence quality. In order to reduce such instances, lean facility designs can prove to be very useful. In this presentation we present the concept of lean designs and layouts. Appropriate lean design case studies and examples will be presented: Optimizing storage and staging spaces for efficient spatial utilization, efficiently moving material which minimizes cross-contamination and human error by reducing handoffs, optimizing equipment utilization to allow time for preventive maintenance reducing variability and rejects. Lastly, some recommendations for efficiently conducting these types of studies will be provided.