Guide to a Smooth Factory Relocation
Moving your manufacturing facility poses several unique hurdles. Business owners spend months preparing for a factory relocation, making detailed plans to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
You’re juggling many moving parts, from rethinking your resources to planning for equipment upgrades. Whether you’re expanding your business or increasing efficiency in other ways, a factory relocation strategy helps significantly.
Planning for your factory relocation can save you from many challenges and difficulties during the move. Check out the tips in this manufacturing facility relocation checklist to simplify your transition.
Why Is It Important to Plan a Plant Relocation?
Moving to a new manufacturing plant is a complex task involving many factors. Ensuring a smooth, timely relocation process requires careful and strategic planning.
You’ll likely be transporting many items from your industrial facility, such as inventory, storage racks and packaging materials. However, loading and transporting heavy equipment is one of the most challenging tasks during a factory relocation. You may need to move the following heavy-duty equipment or other machinery:
- Conveyor systems
- Power generators
- Manufacturing ovens
- Industrial mixers
- Electrical cabinets
- Washing equipment
Typically, machines will need to be partially or fully dismantled before moving to a new facility. Additionally, this process must be executed with extreme care to avoid damaging critical equipment.
You’ll want to create a comprehensive manufacturing plant relocation project plan before moving day. This accounts for all items that need to be moved and ensures an efficient, on-schedule moving process.
The more detailed your checklist and the earlier you begin planning your move, the more prepared you’ll be. Hiring a professional for plant relocation services can streamline the planning process immensely. They can work with you to map out each step of the process, from disassembling machinery to loading items.
Tips for Planning Your Move
Consider these tips for making your manufacturing factory relocation as smooth as possible.
1. Start Planning Early
You have lots of factors to consider during your facility relocation. Start planning as early as possible to give yourself more time to assess risks and anticipate potential challenges. Planning far in advance is even more crucial if you are continuing production during the change.
2. Determine Your Inventory Needs
Essential items and equipment can easily get misplaced when you move factory locations. It’s vital to locate your company’s documents and business records when needed. Take inventory before the move to simplify equipment tracking during the transition.
3. Make a Schedule
As you plan, make a moving schedule with as much detail as possible so you can efficiently handle every aspect of the move. Your moving schedule should include dates, times and the contact information of everyone involved in your transition so you can quickly check on progress. If you are continuing production, plan when to move your unused machines so you can continue running the other ones.
4. Make Clear Instructions for the Move
Creating detailed instructions for the move can cut down on accidents. Include information about:
- When and how to shut down each machine.
- How to pack equipment.
- How to unload machinery.
- Where and how to reconfigure equipment at the new location.
- How to clean your old facility.
5. Prepare Your New Facility’s Layout Drawings
Surveying your new location far before moving can help you make a smoother transition into the space. Take photos and measurements of the area and create layout drawings to guide the moving process. Have the drawings available throughout your move as a reference for your team and the moving company.
6. Anticipate Changes to Your Supply Chain
Consider how the move could affect how you receive supplies and supply others along the chain. Even a perfect transition can result in some changes. Planning ahead to anticipate issues you might encounter can help mitigate any challenges.
Work out solutions to move-in delays and setbacks. As you finalize the move, you should also financially prepare for a potential cash-flow deficit during the transition period.
7. Audit Your Machines
Conduct a machine audit to ensure your equipment is in working order and will continue to serve your needs in the future. Assess the quality of your equipment and perform any repairs before you begin the move.
Identify What Assistance You Will Need for Facility Relocation
Finding the right moving company is essential since your in-house staff likely can’t manage the entire process on their own. You’ll also need transportation for your industrial equipment that some trucking companies cannot provide. You might need to look for a specialized moving company that can crate, load and unpack the large and unwieldy equipment you need to move.
When hiring a moving company, look for traits like:
- Experience: You need a moving team with plenty of experience handling heavy machinery. You can also benefit from a moving company with an extensive fleet of forklifts, cranes, trucks and other moving equipment that can handle your facility’s needs.
- A broad range of services: Choose a company that can perform all the plant moving services you require, from packing your heavy machinery to loading equipment onto trucks and warehousing items for safekeeping.
- Advanced warehousing: Equipment storage can make a difference during your factory relocation. Look for a moving company with plenty of safety features to protect your machines at its warehouse, from temperature-controlled storage units to advanced security.
Machine Audit Tips
Documenting the condition of your machinery is a crucial step in preparing equipment for transportation. You should determine whether it’s more cost-effective to replace outdated and unreliable machines or repair them before you relocate. Follow these steps in your machine audit to ensure your equipment arrives at its destination in the best possible condition.
1. Thoroughly Examine all Machinery
The first part of your machine audit should be a thorough inspection of all your machinery. Your assessment should determine whether your machinery is in good condition and whether its securement points are stable. Examine your equipment for signs of:
- Disrepair that could pose a safety issue.
- Unrepairable damage.
- Parts that require repairs.
2. Compare Costs
Making a simple repair on an otherwise functioning machine is much more cost-effective than replacing it. However, it could be unnecessarily costly to move a machine you’ll need to replace right away. Calculate the cost of moving a machine versus replacing it and determine which equipment you can leave behind.
3. Consider Outsourcing
If some of your machines need replacement or repair before the move, consider outsourcing one aspect of your production temporarily. This could be feasible if you need to continue manufacturing during the move and are out of time to get the necessary repairs.
4. Gather Important Equipment Information
Gather all the essential information about each machine to keep it organized during the move. For instance, you should document your findings from your machine inspection, including any photos and notes about your machinery’s condition.
Include details about connection points and any special foundations or pits a machine requires. Additionally, gather your equipment’s maintenance records, manuals and programming data.
5. Dispose of Old Equipment Properly
If you need to upgrade some of your equipment, dispose of your old machinery properly. You can choose to sell or recycle some machines, while others may be headed to the scrap yard. Disposing of old equipment lightens your team’s load during moving and can save you money on moving costs.
Tips for Planning Your New Location Layout
A new location provides an opportunity for a fresh start. As you prepare to move to a different facility, you might consider updating your layout to improve operations, productivity, efficiency and safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your new factory layout.
1. Evaluate Your Current Workflow
As you prepare for the move, assess your facility’s current operations. Look for opportunities to improve workflow. Perhaps you’ve noticed a slight overstocking of certain inventory, a lack of technology to automate repetitive tasks or other fixable issues.
Examining your current processes can help you gauge what needs to change. Once you move into the new facility, you can implement strategies to address these problems.
2. Make It a Collaborative Effort
Gather feedback from your employees when planning your new facility layout. Ask for their thoughts, concerns and suggestions regarding different factory processes. They may bring some fresh ideas to the table that you hadn’t previously considered.
People working on the floor daily are well-versed in these different manufacturing processes. They likely have some improvements in mind to streamline operations further. Inviting feedback also shows workers that you value their opinions and want them to be heard.
3. Consider Technological Advancements
While it can be a large investment, computer-controlled machinery can bring significant long-term benefits to manufacturing facilities. It minimizes the need for staff to perform tedious manual tasks. Evaluate your current processes and determine if any of them could benefit from new technology, such as:
- Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)
- Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS)
- Automated sortation systems
- Automated guided vehicles (AGVs)
4. Factor in Quality Checks
You likely integrate some form of quality checks into your manufacturing processes. However, there may be untapped opportunities to improve them.
Consider where quality checks are needed in your different factory processes. Factor these quality checkpoints into your new factory layout. You can implement these checks after moving to the new location, then determine if they are effective or require any adjustments.
5. Plan an Effective Waste Disposal Process
You probably know what production materials you need to discard and what you can recycle for future projects. If required, determine how you can improve this waste disposal process and factor it into your new layout. Consider:
- When and where you want these materials to enter and exit production.
- How you can facilitate their movement.
- Who will manage and oversee waste disposal.
6. Set Realistic Goals
Remember — successfully optimizing your factory layout takes time and patience. As you plan for your relocation and new layout, set realistic goals and look for additional improvements along the way. Some objectives you may wish to accomplish are:
- Improving preventive maintenance.
- Reducing operational costs.
- Achieving target product quality levels.
- Increasing productivity and decreasing downtime.
- Hitting product completion deadlines consistently.
- Improving workplace safety.
How We Protect Your Equipment During a Move
At Equip Trucking & Warehousing, LLC, we understand how important it is to protect your factory’s heavy equipment during a move. We provide a total moving and storage solution for manufacturing facilities, partnering with you for your factory relocation. Here are some of the practices we implement to keep your equipment safe during the moving process:
- Safe industrial rigging: Equip Trucking utilizes industrial rigging with cranes and other lifting equipment to lift and move large machines where they need to go.
- Careful loading and unloading: Our experienced team uses innovative crating and packaging to reduce the risk of damage to your machines. From our fleet of forklifts to our cranes that can handle loads up to 100 tons, we’ve prepared our facility to manage a wide range of machinery moving needs.
- Heavy equipment hauling: At Equip Trucking, we offer a vast fleet of trucks for a wide range of loads. Our drivers and crews also receive special training for maintaining safety on the road.
- Commercial warehousing: We’ll protect your equipment in our commercial warehouse with on-site security and surveillance cameras, giving you peace of mind.
Contact Equip Trucking for Factory Relocation Services
Equip Trucking has what it takes to complete some of the most complicated factory relocations. Our services take you from creating to warehousing and unloading at your new facility. To learn more about our trucking and warehousing services, contact us today!