Finally people appear to be moving off the fence. They are tired of waiting to do something about that kitchen or media center. The house won’t fetch the price they want, so they decide let’s stay put and remodel. That seems to be the consensus among the pundits in the associations in our industry. So now that things are looking up and business is getting better, are you going to run out of space in your shop? Is moving to a bigger facility on your mind, or is there another way?

Moving is very costly, time consuming and nerve wracking. Moving could cost you some of your business if your locality changes. It might be inconvenient for your trusted employees, too. Why not stay where you are and create the space you think is not there?

New space without moving 

I have been involved many a time in a situation when moving to a larger space appeared to be the only way to satisfy the growth experienced. In three quarters of those cases we could find the space in the existing facility with some careful planning and soul searching. Before we even started that process I pointed out 20 percent of the space that was used either for waste, redundant equipment or items not belonging like fishing boats and such like. So we got rid of that stuff or parked it where it belongs.

The next step was to analyze the processes in terms of the product mix. We looked at material management and decided what to stock and what to buy as we needed it. That saved another 10 percent of the space because we discovered that we need not have large inventories of board stock. Doing a quick cost comparison between buying truck load quantities, monies tied up and buying the board as we need it, made that decision a simple one.

Toss the offcuts 

Next we determined that offcuts are best dumped straight away rather than expected be used in the future. Sure, if you have a hog, a furnace and generate steam you could heat the plant or even make electricity with the waste, if not just pitch it. In most cases I have been involved with this, it took a little doing, I mean you are throwing good money away. But the reality is the stuff has no value until it is used for some future work, and if that ever takes place it is more costly than buying new. Why? Because it has been touched many times before finally it finds a home. I cannot tell you how much space and time is saved, not to mention clutter done away with once that decision has been agonized over.

Only now we looked at the work stations, the proximity to one another, and once more against the product mix. Then we look at process flow and material handling, and boy, now we have too much space! I just love to see it happen; it never fails. Someone always does not like it, of course, I mean all these changes. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, no longer even passes spell check.

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