September '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 S E P T E M B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 7 5 Including the employees directly impact- ed can provide nuggets of wisdom you may not have considered. Even employees that don't have any feedback will feel empow- ered. These employees will often take more ownership of your plans, smoothing the transition when the time comes. SOFTWARE FOR THE WIN Organize the information you gather to make the best use of it. Using the right software can greatly improve your experi- ence and will make future planning that much easier. Spreadsheets or asset management soft- ware are great for generating a list of cur- rent and future planned assets that you will need to lay out. You can easily include key considerations like department, dimen- sions, utility requirements, and key layout notes. Create ID numbers on your list for each asset to easily cross reference details from the list and your visual floor layout. Flow charts are a fantastic tool for cre- ating layout and process flows. There are great software options specifically designed for laying out production floor plans, but a software like Adobe Illustrator or Corel- DRAW are great options if you already know how to use them. When I layout a production facility, I always use Illustrator because of my familiarity with it, but an engineer will use my file to generate full plans when permitting or construction is required. The most critical consideration when beginning a layout is ensuring that ev- erything is accurately scaled. A properly planned layout can be easily converted into evacuation plans, training tools, and doz- ens of other helpful utilities in the future. Getting a copy of the digital floor plan Have a process flowchart that shows the flow of materials throughout your facility. The process flow chart can help you maintain a lean manufacturing linear flow. (Image courtesy Nathan Belz) that includes walls and columns is a tre- mendous help, and many landlords will be able to make this information available to you. Make sure to include breaker boxes, gas lines, waterlines, drains, and structural elements such as columns and walls. Con- sider putting different elements on inde- pendent layers so you can hide or lock ele- ments for easy viewing and manipulating. Start your layout by breaking the fa- cility up into functional elements like screen print, embroidery, storage, and so on. Comparing your current layout and processes with your future plans allows you to come up with the expected square footage for each of the functional elements in your shop. If you have prepared well, you should have a process flowchart that shows the flow

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