On this episode I was joined by Peter Christian who is an author, consultant and teacher in the supply chain arena. Peter is currently “retired” but is still very busy and involved in the field. His background is in industrial engineering, operations and strategic planning so our discussion revolved around facility design and how it has changed over the years.
- As mentioned above, Peter has an extensive background and continues to build on that experience as well. While he is semi-retired he still authors his own books including “What About the Vermin Problem?” and recently released “Influences and Influencers” as well as works as an adjunct professor at Alvernia University. His background is very interesting and probably the most intriguing part of it for me was his time at Crayola which is an incredibly fun place to visit if you ever have the chance. Throughout his career he has worked in engineering, quality control, operations and strategic planning.
- I wanted to talk about facility design and planning with Peter because of his extensive background. It is very interesting to hear how facilities have changed over time. One thing is for sure, the size of distribution facilities have become massive with some topping 2 million square feet. Not only have they increased their footprint but they have also increased the height that they go. Increasing the height allows for more cubic space overall but can help to reduce cost by shrinking the amount of land needed.
- Peter starts the discussion on facility planning with the most important aspect of an operation, safety. He discusses how any type of planning within a facility whether new or old should always take safety into account. He emphasizes the importance of this now more than ever due to the increase of equipment being utilized and different moving parts. This is incredibly important as a redesign or new design may seem incredibly efficient but if it is not safe, it is not worth it. As we look at changes in design not only does safety need to be thought of in the process flow but also from a budget perspective. Safety measures should be taken and preventive measures should be invested in prior to an issue happening.
- One other point that was very important to bring up is to look at whether a new facility is actually needed or if you are just not optimizing your current space. Peter discusses how assessing your actual needs instead of getting caught up in the idea of a new facility is an important first step. While having a bigger footprint may make an impact when you say it, the reality may be that it is unnecessary for your operation. A proper assessment will take into account your current space and analyze whether the space can be redesigned to help your current and future needs. Once that is done then you can really make the best decision for the future of your business and operation.
Listen to the episode below and let us know your thoughts on facility planning in the comments.
For more information on Peter and to connect with him head to his website here.
Connect with Peter on LinkedIn here.