Moving Factories? Here's what you need to know
If you’re planning on relocating your factory you’ll have a lot to consider. For example, managing production scheduling is critical in order to maintain stock levels during the time your equipment will be getting moved and you’ll also want to ensure that your downtime is kept to a minimum. Many companies start by increasing production in the run up to the move so that they have a window of stock availability while the move takes place or plan the move in such a way that production isn’t affected. The most successful factory moves are completed with the help of a specialist relocation company versed in complex logistics and experience in moving heavy yet delicate material so that your downtime is as limited as humanly possible.
Step One: Planning
Your chosen relocation provider will need to audit your current as well as your new site in order to create an assessment report that outlines the most efficient method of relocating your equipment. Detailed Risk Assessments and Method Statements will need to be drafted which should include lifting and floor load weight calculations so that health and safety regulations are followed.
This will serve in identifying and mitigating risks and recording obstacles that will need to be managed during the move as well as ensuring all the phases are organised correctly and deadlines set that can be adhered to. Machinery can be moved in an order we determine as optimal or as requested by our customer depending on their individual needs such as moving by section or department.
Careful and strategic planning pre-empts problems when the move is underway and eliminates a lot of the pressures that come with it. For example if moving large machines or parts that might not fit through a standard doorway there might be a need to make mild structural changes to the building, such as removing a door, so that the move proceeds uninterrupted.
In such cases of large scale moves it is imperative that the right removal equipment is used and that additional services are provided such as decontamination of machinery if necessary. Every detail should be taken into consideration and this of course this is only achieved through years of experience in industrial relocation.
If the relocation is international, planning will need to include a schedule for the movement of the equipment which will mean customs and international transfer paperwork.
This is also the perfect time to conduct an audit of your machinery and document its condition. This will determine whether it’s a good idea to move it or whether you’re better off considering a replacing or upgrading, which will save unnecessary moving of equipment that should be retired or refurbished.
This is also the ideal time to review your factory’s design and establish whether you can improve your layout in order to optimise production, add storage as well as packing and shipment areas. Implementing international standards such as ISO 14001 at this stage can help you make savings by providing guidance in terms of using energy efficient light fittings and fixtures and reducing your water consumption. Finally, modernising insulation materials and installing solar panels will help you be more environmentally sustainable as well.
Step Two: Roles and Communication
You should assign a number of move coordinators within your company who will liaise with your relocation provider. The right relocation company will assign a Move Manager who will oversee every stage of the process and ensure that regular updates are scheduled, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis as required by the complexity of your move.
When relocating complex machinery and sensitive equipment, it’s imperative to engage specialist engineers for any equipment weighing more than a ton as this will require specialist tools and handling. Your chosen provider should display proven expertise at decommissioning, de-installation, decontamination and installation of sophisticated equipment and machinery.
You will need to build teams that can manage every aspect of your move and include all departments so that everyone knows what’s happening and especially what to expect. Regular updates from your relocation ambassadors will keep your staff updated and will also enable them to help, offer suggestions about issues you might not have anticipated and make cooperation easier. Often people who have been in the same site and role for a long time are resistant to change so keeping them informed at every step of the process will make the process simpler for everyone.
Step Three: Preparing for the physical move
The right relocation partner will help you set realistic deadlines for your move and will also work around your exact needs. You should be informed about what to expect and how every step of the process will proceed as part of your regular updates. They should also be able to problem solve quickly and easily if issues occur.
A company with experienced moving engineers will use the right processes and equipment for each type and weight of machine. They will also ensure access routes are defined and get permissions from the Council in order to complete the project.
They will provide complete reinstallation and re-commissioning as well as post installation safety assessments including PUWER and CE marking.
When it comes to moving or disassembling the equipment, expertise is critical. Your relocation company will be able to both work with all relevant machinery as well as provide onsite assistance to OEM vendors who need support in unpacking and installation of new equipment at your site. Some machines may require specific foundation arrangements which your relocation partner should be able to source or at least offer advice on how to proceed. If you have them, you should provide your moving company with all the manuals, maintenance records, and programming data for each machine. However, if these are not available they should be able to proceed with the assistance of the Original Manufacturer so no need to panic.
The right relocation partner should also have the capacity to provide custom packing cases and provide heavy lift facilities. They will handle all relocation paperwork, customs clearances as well as provide storage solutions where necessary.
Step Four: Knowing what to expect
Depending on the scale of your facility you’ll need to be realistic about the outcome. The process is likely to be broken up into phases to be completed over a period of time for which you should prepare in advance. If you need to increase production in order to cover supply over the time of the disruption think where stock is to be stored or how it will be distributed.
Ask for help where you don’t have in house capacity. Your relocation partner will be able to advise on how to go about keeping staff informed as well as feel supported, particularly if your HR department has never organised a move before. If your production staff are going to be busy with decommissioning equipment, who is going to be in charge of production? An expert in logistics will know what to do. They will also oversee the installation and ensure that your machines are installed correctly, audited and ready to go back into production.
As logistics experts we have manage all scales of moves, ranging from museum and galleries, to hospitals and labs to factory settings with large scale equipment so get in touch with us today to book a free consultation.