The Right Team + The Right Plan = Exceptional Results
How to Plan and Execute a Successful Move
AIS: Abstract/Executive Summary
Affordable Interior Systems (AIS) is a leading national manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating. The AIS culture is one of ingenuity and creativity in design and production – of always looking to do it better, faster, and less expensively.
In September of 2014, AIS moved into its new 600,000 SF manufacturing, distribution, and corporate office facility in Leominster, MA. Phase 1 of this move consisted of completing the design, engineering, and construction of 375,000 SF of this facility, then disconnecting and relocating approximately 85 pieces of production equipment and moving 12,000 pallets and containers of raw material, packaging, and finished goods. The move was completed in three phases:
- The distribution area was completed in one weekend.
- The warehouse was completed over a one-month period.
- The manufacturing area was completed over a two-month timeframe.
As an added challenge, AIS’ largest shipping company went out of business during the week that the distribution area was moved.
The consequences of AIS having multiple locations were high intraplant transportation costs, poor communication between departments, resources not being shared, double and triple handling of products, and longer lead times.
- Design a layout that would allow for 25% productivity gains in manufacturing efficiency.
- Develop a manufacturing process that did not require fork-lift assistance.
- Create a safe and clean work environment to improve employees’ work experience and productivity.
- Establish a schedule and budget that would be committed to by all parties.
- Allow AIS to stay on schedule with customer orders throughout the duration of the project.
- Relocate – search for a building with the help of CBRE | New England and the brokerage team of Mark Reardon and Bob McGuire that would accommodate the current and future growth requirements of AIS.
- Establish a project team — designate a senior management participant to act as the project champion and decision maker (Steve Savage, COO of AIS); designate a project manager to coordinate the various corporate departments and interested parties into a cohesive and directed team (Keith LeBlanc, manufacturing engineer, AIS).
- Hire an industrial engineering consultant to assist in the development of a layout for the facility (Robert Liptrot and a team of engineers from Boston Industrial Consulting, Inc.).
- Hire a design-build construction manager for the development of the architectural and engineering documentation for the project, as well as for establishing and maintaining the overall project budget and schedule (Dacon Corporation with its project team of Jeff Prince, AIA, senior project planner, and Wayne Sidle, project architect).
- Establish project goals.
- Establish a schedule and budget.
- Review process requirements — analyze current process shortcomings and conduct future needs assessment based on projected growth and corresponding requirements.
- Develop an efficient building layout utilizing lean tools, including value stream mapping and a 5S design process.
- Provide manufacturing and distribution process solutions — Dacon conducted a total building analysis of existing conditions; architecture and engineering documentation was completed for support areas and utility support systems necessary to accommodate the manufacturing and distribution processes.
The project was delivered under budget and on schedule, and all project goals were met. The success of the project is a testament to good planning and great execution of the plan.
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