Plant Layout and Material Handling

The production efficiency of a manufacturing unit depends on how well various machines, flow paths, storage facilities, and employee amenities are located in the plant. A systematically designed plant can ensure the smooth and rapid movement of material, from the raw material stage to the end product stage. Plant layout encompasses new layout as well as improvement in the existing layout. In modern manufacturing facilities, efficient layout is complemented by world class material handling equipment to drive the overall efficiency.

Some of the issues that warrant careful layout planning and utilizing material handling equipments are improper material flow paths resulting in production idle time, production bottlenecks due to improper facility layout and planning, increased material handling costs due to increased number of "touches" across different operations, inability to scale up operations due to poorly designed infrastructure and material flow patterns, and reduced employee morale due to non availability of adequate amenities across the facility.

ThinkLink works with your management and production teams to examine the production requirements and assists you in designing a plant layout that best fits your organizational needs. We also assist you to identify, evaluate, and procure material handling equipment that would add value to your overall operations.

Our Plant Layout and Material Handling Solution process can be divided into the following categories:

  • Initial Survey and Data Analysis
    • Survey is done through:
      • Site visits to do an initial evaluation of the project
      • Customer Interaction and interviews to gather requirements
      • Data Requests to start initial analysis
    • Data Analysis is done considering the following factors:
      • Required Inventory holding capacity of the facility (Size of SKUs, Packs, Handling – Pallet, Case, Piece, Velocity)
      • Expected throughput (Volumes, Seasonality, Skew during different time horizons)
      • Expansion plans of the business based on market growth and company strategy
  • Layout Modeling and MHE Evaluation
    • AutoCAD models to Incorporate:
      • Storage Media combinations
      • Material Flow Options
      • Process and Automation Options
    • MHE Evaluation For:
      • Clearly estimating quantities of different material handling equipment required)
      • Options are created from available libraries of storage equipment
      • Expansion plans of the business based on market growth and company strategy
  • Layout Evaluation and Selection using SLP Methodology
    • Material Flow Analysis of different Models:
      • Simulation models to perform what-if analysis
      • Physical mapping to analyze inefficient movement of material within a warehouse
      • Identification of excessive path lengths, traffic congestion, blocked access points, circuitous routes etc.
    • Process Cycle Time Analysis:
      • Measure WIP and waiting time for products across different scenarios
      • Measure idle time for equipments and labor based on layout options under consideration
      • Measure downtime for equipments due to different layout plans and flows
  • Implementation
    • Project Management and Build-out:
      • Development of plans at various levels of details using MS Project and other project management tools
      • Ensure that the work is in accordance with proposed layout
      • Specification of equipment and resources required for completion of work
      • Provide necessary supervision and survey support to ensure correct lay-outing and construction
    • Go-Live:
      • Go-Live Preparation to ensure smooth transition of the facility to the customer

Some of the benefits that our customers have realized in our Layout Design and Material Handling engagements are as follows:

  • Better material flow and organized operations across the facility
  • Improved productivity by placing work stations and inventory locations based on simulated models
  • Added output, capacity and utilization by relieving space constraints
  • Reduction in handling costs and damage to products.
  • Opportunities for future growth or consolidation
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