How to Successfully Relocate Your Shop

Relocating your shop is a hefty task. From establishing schedules to designing floor layouts and new work instructions, to moving equipment and machinery - there’s a lot to consider. Check out our latest article for some helpful tips you can use to ensure that your shop relocation goes as smoothly as possible. 

1. Design a Floor Layout

Ensure that you have accurate drawings of both your current and your new facilities. Having these documents allows you to plan appropriately for where machinery and various departments will be located in the new facility, and to optimize layouts for maximum production efficiency. When designing a new factory layout, consider the size of the machinery and equipment you intend to transfer. You also need to consider existing columns, as well as the entry and exit points, throughout the new facility, and where your existing machines and equipment can be placed.

2. Begin Planning as Early as Possible

A project as big as moving a manufacturing facility requires substantial planning. Begin laying the groundwork as early as possible. The more time that is dedicated to planning, the more likely the factory move will be successful and with as few headaches as possible. Planning is especially essential if you intend to continue running your production lines throughout the transition. Careful scheduling can avoid negative impacts on lead times and production output. Using a project management tool can help you organize and keep track of the huge number of individual tasks and actions that must be accomplished in order and on time. By coordinating logistics, developing production schedules, and planning for common issues that may be encountered during the transition, you’re one step closer to a seamless factory move.

3. Communicate Developments to Staff and Customers

When the decision to move is made, it’s important to communicate these developments to all staff, contractors, customers, and investors. Not doing so can result in delays, misplaced pieces of equipment, and unnecessary stress for all of the people involved. Communicating the current status and progress of the factory move will have the following advantages:

  • Prepares staff and contractors for when to switch their commute to the new site. 
  • Allowing ample time for staff and contractors to move their households, if necessary.
  • Customers will know where to visit you and where they can expect shipments to be sent from.
  • Investors can be kept up to date regarding significant changes in business operations.

4. Develop Clear Work Instructions for All Aspects of Move 

Developing clear work instructions for a factory move can be a tremendous help in ensuring a smooth transition. Create detailed procedures and checklists for shutting down, packing, transporting, and unloading machinery and equipment. Once established, distribute these checklists to the key personnel who will be in charge of carrying out or facilitating these activities. This not only helps ensure that machinery is kept in good working order during and after relocation but also helps those in charge of the transition keep track of each asset. Work instructions should also include details related to cleaning, connections to utilities (HVAC, water, oil, gas, etc.), and any other special task that must be completed.

5. Organize all Business Records

It’s easy for things to get lost during a factory move - from important business documents to tools, and even machinery! This is an opportunity to identify old/obsolete records and either dispose of them or archive them. Use your quality management system to help organize and make certain you retain the updated records and documents. You can also create electronic copies and backups of important and/or confidential documents for extra security against losing access to important company information during the move. Ensure that all of your documents and records are filed, stored, and labeled correctly. 

6. Inventory All Machinery and Product

A factory move is a perfect time to conduct an inventory of all your machinery and equipment, and all of your products on hand. Examine and log the condition of your equipment. It would be best to identify any machinery that is in need of repair, or that should be disposed of, before the transition. Placing unique asset tags on equipment helps people throughout the company quickly obtain the information they need and identify which machines must be moved. Additionally, keeping records of these tags can help track equipment throughout the transition period. Be sure to build in time to test and re-calibrate all equipment after the move to the new site.

Account for not just equipment and machinery, but also existing stored product and raw materials. Having a record of product inventory can help you devise a production schedule to follow during the transition to ensure there is no loss in output or delay in deliveries. Accounting for both machinery and product inventory is extremely helpful in guaranteeing a smooth transition.

7. Contact Necessary Subcontractors

When the decision to move to a new facility is made, contact utility providers and arrange a time for services like power, water, gas, and air to be switched off at the old site and on at the new location. Make these arrangements well in advance of a factory move to give both the utility providers and yourself enough time to meet any unforeseen challenges. If any sort of renovation is needed in the new facility, it is best to make arrangements for it to be completed before the move begins. At a minimum, it must be finished before the move-in phase when that part of the facility must come online. Additionally, make arrangements well in advance with companies that will be needed to assist with your factory moves, such as freight or moving companies.

8. Prepare Equipment and Products for Transit

Plan ahead to protect your valuable equipment during transit. Some large machinery may require a permit or authorization to be hauled on public roads. Check accordingly with local governments and laws. Additionally, clear a path in the new facility to allow easy moving of equipment. Remove any doors, make sure passageways are clear, and protect floors.

9. Conduct a Final Review

After all the above steps have been completed and your machinery is in place at the new site, conduct one last review of the facility. Conduct an inventory at the new factory to ensure that all machinery and documentation have successfully been transferred. Ensure that work instructions for any new processes are being followed. Finally, communicate updates in procedures to all staff. Having a well-informed team from top to bottom can help to identify areas for improvement, and assist in establishing successful operations in the new facility.

Relocating your factory may be one of the biggest decisions a manufacturing company ever makes. Relocating a factory can be an enormous challenge. With proper preparation, it can be easy. Whether you’re moving across the street or across the world, no amount of planning is too much. With sufficient planning well in advance of your prospective transition date, you can have a smooth factory move. 

Contact a Xometry representative if you have any questions about moving, your active jobs, job board, or new capabilities.

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