In a perfect world, you would simply pick the flow that seems most efficient for your product line. But changing a workflow in an existing facility can be a challenge. You have to factor in constraints with the physical site such as building entry and exit points, building height and floor load limits and “monuments” such as structural features of the building and pieces of equipment that cannot or should not be moved.
Utilities, facility support and access further influence the flow as do other important process flow considerations. For example, will you have dedicated lines vs. product families run on the same lines? What impact will shared equipment and other resources have on the final layout?
Couple your understanding of the constraints of the existing flow with process data with a solid understanding of important layout considerations and then design a Macro Workflow. This will give you a high-level view of the improved process layout, Micro Workflow details can then be worked out. These details include balancing process lines, incorporating kanbans, simplifying material handling and organizing workstations.
Get it right and a Lean Process Layout will reduce resources, lower costs, slash production times and even create a safer work environment. But, be aware of the consequences. If employees are counting on their jobs to rack up Fitbit exercise badges, you may need to include a health club membership in their benefits package.