This executive summary will cover appropriate design approaches for a shipping facility with product warehoused on site and single family homebuilding. Both have several similarities such as a desired result of high customer satisfaction, cost efficiency and safety. However, one is a service and the other a manufacturing process which will require significant design differences to reach shared goals. The shipping facility that I am most familiar with is a warehouse for Amazon.com. The process design functions like an assembly line in some ways, but is not continuous. Customer desires for product is forecasted by algorithms and predicted items are brought in with daily deliveries. The items may remain in place for anywhere between one minute and several days. However, once an order is placed online, the item goes though the traditional pick-pack-ship process which is familiar in American industry.
Again, there will be divergence in the process depending on size of the items and if it is a single shipment or multiple item order. The process design for this operation requires a flexible workforce and facility that is able to respond to order volume and type of product shipped. The preffereable design approach is that of a workcenter. Various processes are placed in a semi circle beginning with inbound product and progressing to inventory, outbound and shipping bins for pickup. Offshoots available to further process as needed. When using human labor to move 50,000 or more units per day, minimization of movement is critical.
Processes are constantly broken down into individual parts with a goal of increasing accuracy and reducing cycle time. Single family homebuilding requires a completely different outlook on design processes, principally due to the fact that the product we build is completely handmade and built in one spot, where it will permanently set. Design considerations are less about economical movement of the product as maximizing how efficiently workers can access, work and withdraw from the product- while maintaining quality work.
After designing a home that can be efficiently built and will appeal to consumers in the region, a critical path design process and plan must be implemented. Critical path is the longest sequence of events that must take place in the construction process. Knowing that the foundation must be poured prior to the wood framing is an easy way to visualize this. Once that path is understood and set, secondary and tertiary processes can be planned for in the process. The process schedule, like all construction projects, is a chronological timeline giving an appropriate amount of time to each trade whose work is required on the home.
Many builders have several houses in various stages of construction to reduce their costs. It is easier to negotiate a subcontractors price when he knows he can have his crews move from house to house as they complete their work. Each subcontractor is employed by the general contractor (the homebuilder or a company) to do a set job for a set price. Capable managers in the field are a vital part of keeping these costs under control and holding the labor accountable. Failure of the onsite managers to manage will result in poor quality, time and cost overruns. Whether developing a design process for a product or a service, customer satisfaction with the result and control of costs are critical considerations. Though there are numerous variables in strategy, design and process, a manager who ensures those considerations are accounted for will be successful.
Poke-a-yokes throughout pick and pack process requiring units to be scanned. Weights checked at two points to further increase accurate shipping. Maintained by on site managers performing frequent inspections with standards established by contractor’s contracts.
Flexible capacity constrained by worker productivity, space and equipment. Constrained by land, capital, workforce, market capacity, management.
Huge inventory maintained on site. Constantly turned over as product is shipped out. Ideally consists only of in-process homes. Holding costs can be high and detrimental to the bottom line.
Jacobs and Chase. Operations and Supply Chain Management (2014, September 1). Retrieved October 5, 2014.