12 Things to Consider of When Moving a Manufacturing Facility

moving a manufacturing faclity with one of Sterling's expert crews

There are many reasons to move a manufacturing facility: the need for more space to handle increased capacity, downsizing, revamping outdated processes and technologies while keeping disruptions to a minimum, etc. Whatever the reason, these are very complex and detailed moves that require many hours of preparation and planning.

While not an all-encompassing list of considerations, here are a number of things to think about that will help you get the most out of the relocation while making it go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Start the planning process as soon as possible
    Given the complexity of these moves, the more time to plan, the better. This will ensure everything is taken into account and reduces the chance of things being inadvertently forgotten. In addition to the master plan, you should make sure you create contingency plans to accommodate unforeseen circumstances.
  2. Create a move team
    It is important to select a group of qualified employees that represent your internal stake holders, ensure the budget you set is adhered to, will work directly with the movers, and can handle any specialized functions if required.This team will meet on a regular basis to plan, assign the roles for everyone involved, and address issues as they arise. They will disseminate all information to the company, keeping everyone in the loop to ensure the move flows smoothly.
  3. Communicate
    This is a time of turbulence within the company. It is important for your team to provide a reliable way to communicate information that employees can count on. They need to be able to ask questions and receive regular updates. It can be via in person meetings, e-mails, internal blogs, intranets, or discussion forums. Provide as much detail as possible. Important things to include:

    • A timetable for the move
    • What employees are expected to do
    • Who to contact with questions
  4. Use this as an opportunity
    Use this as an opportunity to take an in-depth analysis of any needs and issues in your current systems and processes that can be mitigated or corrected through the move. This is a rare chance to redesign your operations in order to create greater efficiencies, facilitate future growth, and improve safety.
  5. Map out the new location
    This includes the placement for all assembly lines, large equipment and machinery, office furniture, and ancillary materials. From the largest items to the smallest, if these decisions are made ahead of time, your movers will be able to quickly and easily put everything in place.
  6. Lay out a timeline for every aspect of the move
    It is especially important to address the needs of large machinery. When will existing equipment be disconnected (possibly disassembled) and prepped for moving? There are often steps and special consideration for preparing large, complex pieces of machinery for transportation. If new equipment is part of the move, it is important to time when it will be delivered. A full-service mover can usually take delivery and store these items in their warehouse ahead of the actual move. This allows for more flexibility and reduced stress on your part.
  7. Prepare a complete inventory
    What will you be taking with you and what has reached the end of its useful life and requires replacement? A full-service mover can dispose of old equipment and materials. Many have partnerships with companies to recycle instead of just throwing everything away.When ordering new equipment, the timeline for receiving it must be precise. Here again, a full-service company can be helpful. They will have the capability to take delivery ahead of time and store the equipment in their warehouse to be delivered on your schedule.
  8. Plan and prepare the route
    Will all the equipment fit through the doors at both ends? Will certain equipment need to be routed a specific way to avoid narrow halls in order to get it to the moving truck? Will floors and walls need protection? These are a few of the items to consider.
  9. Know all regulations and permits
    Give your team ample time to obtain any necessary permits and have all required inspections completed for the new plant. If you are moving to a new state, ensure that any new regulatory requirements are discovered and addressed ahead of time. Nothing can disrupt a move worse than dealing with unforeseen regulatory issues and city/state/federal bureaucracies.
  10. Choose the right mover for your job
    Given the complex nature of moving a manufacturing facility, and the many moving parts that must be dealt with, it is important to select a company that can meet all your needs. Choose a single source provider with the expertise that comes from a proven track record.  A skilled mover like this will be just the partner your company needs to make the move go efficiently. They will work with your team to smoothly handle any bumps in the road while completing the job on-time and on-budget.
  11. Do a final walkthrough of the old facility
    This walkthrough will identify any remaining issues and allow you to create a list of items that need to be addressed.A full-service moving company offers decommissioning services. They can help you identify many of these services ahead of time so the final walkthrough will be quick, limited to only identifying any items that crop up at the last minute. Decommissioning tasks your mover can provide include:

    • Returning your old space back to the condition outlined in the lease
    • Removing cabling
    • Cleaning the space and paint walls if needed
    • Do a final walk-through with the building manager
    • Removing signage and install it in the new space if it will be reused
  12. Return keys to the old building management get them from the new
    Make sure employees return all old key/ key cards, parking passes, security badges, etc. These must be turned in to the old building manager. Make sure all employees have the new versions of these, so they have the required access at the new facility.

Moving a manufacturing facility is never easy. If you take the time to find a moving company that provides the expertise, skills, and the services you require,  your move can go as smoothly as possible, and your company will be back in business with a minimum of downtime.