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Factory Structure Planning: Preparing Factories for the Future

The ideal design of a factory depends on the processes as well as the required space, equipment and personnel requirements. Factory planning therefore requires a strategic concept that is suitable for both current and future products. This is precisely where well-thought-out factory structure planning comes in.

Factory Structure Planning Enables Targeted Growth

Factory structure planning (also: master planning) encompasses all conceptual measures that are necessary for the implementation of efficient, variable production and logistics processes at a location. This applies to both:

  • The optimization or expansion of existing factories (green brownfield) as well as
  • The construction of new sustainable production facilities (greenfield).

The aim of master planning is to create factory and factory structures that support the company’s development both now and in the future. Essentially, the aim is to create a “common thread” for factory development that is suited to different market needs.

Master Planning Must be in Place

Developing such a vision of a location is not an easy task. Fluctuating sales forecasts, increasing customer requirements and an increasing variety of product variants make it difficult to plan robust factory structures. In addition, there are statutory environmental requirements (e.g. the German government’s Supply Chain Act), some of which create completely new conditions for the design of a location.

In this environment, manufacturing companies need to be careful. Master planning a factory is not an everyday project. This is an initiative of high strategic relevance. What does that mean? Investment must be in place. Otherwise, time-consuming and cost-intensive corrections are necessary, which could be avoided with better preparation.

What is Important in Factory Structure Planning?

In order to rule out incorrect decisions in factory structure planning, companies must proceed methodically and precisely define their requirements.

Here at Ingenics, we rely on a three-pronged division of analysis, goal development, and evaluation:

1. Analyze

When planning a factory, the motto “Design follows function” applies. Before companies specify the requirements for their factory, they first have to define the processes that should take place there. Otherwise, they would have to adapt production and logistics processes to an existing architecture – and this is rarely effective.

It makes sense to first analyze the current situation of the existing or planned process landscape. Value stream analyses are suitable for this purpose, in which material flow and information flow from all value-adding processes (manufacturing, assembly, logistics, etc.) are examined in detail with a view to the company’s objectives. This basis can be used to define waste-free, flexible processes that are suitable for different market requirements.

2. Desired Layout

Based on the target processes, companies can design an ideal concept and layout (including suitable synergies and clusters), which is then transferred as a real layout to the existing plot option. In doing so, they must arrange the functional areas (production processes, production systems, etc.) in such a way that they optimally support value creation with regard to the spatial conditions of the factory. The aim is to create flexible, modularly expandable building structures.

3. Evaluation

As soon as a concept for the specific requirements of the factory is available, the target vision is reviewed in detail. The information compiled up to this point on the factory layout (space requirements, room requirements, media requirements, etc.) is combined into a 3D model in the CAD system and concretized there. In this way, the digitization of the data creates an overview of the requirements for the identified needs as well as the costs that are derived from them. Based on this, step-by-step plans can be derived with which the developed concept can be implemented step by step.

How Do We Help Companies with Master Planning?

With a methodical approach, sustainable factory structure planning is not witchcraft. For years, our consultants have been helping manufacturing companies of all sizes to redesign and expand existing factories or plan new factories on greenfield sites.

Based on this cross-industry experience, we can support you at every step of your master planning.

This includes, but is not limited to, the following services:

  • Planning of processes, structures and layouts as a prerequisite for value stream-oriented production
  • Definition of cost-effective and energy-efficient building structures and production processes
  • Consideration of the space and room requirements necessary for this (including maximum adaptability for future changes)
  • Organizational consulting
  • Work system design
  • Specification of equipment and facilities
  • Optimization of lead times and use of resources
  • The “common thread” of factory development in construction stages
  • Active shaping of the planning process (workshops, training courses, etc.)
  • Original documents for further internal use (e.g. Excel calculations)
  • Integration of Industry 4.0 topics
  • Integration of the new factory into supply chain management

What Does Your Planning Result Look Like?

Good factory structure planning results in a flexible concept for your factory structure in which building structures and production processes are designed to be economic and energy-efficient. This concept serves as the basis for the detailed planning of the production facility, in which the functional areas are elaborated in detail in cooperation with architectural firms or construction companies.

Our team can also support you at every stage of the process. If necessary, we mediate between you as the client and the architects and ensure that your requirements are also met within the framework of the detailed planning. To this end, we will help you gradually implement your phased plan in the realization of the factory.

How do You Find the Right Architect?

One of the most important tasks in factory planning is the selection of the right architectural or planning office. This is a complex process that involves numerous regulations and requirements on the part of the Chamber of Architects and quickly becomes confusing for building owners. In this case, a structured selection procedure is appropriate, in which the candidates on the long list are examined in detail as part of benefit analyses. This results in a shortlist of companies for which quotation bases can be drawn up as a basis for contract negotiations. Our team (including experienced architects) can also support you here and then take over the complete planning and execution of the construction project!


Simon F. Schäfer

Dr.-Ing. Simon F. Schäfer

Project Director

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