Although every business can benefit from cost-saving measures, facility efficiency is especially important in an industrial setting, where energy, maintenance, and equipment costs make up a significant portion of an enterprise’s expenses. In manufacturing, maintenance, warehousing and distribution, the facility itself can serve as a strategic contributor for the business and impact a company’s productivity and bottom-line profit.

While many companies comfort themselves with the idea that all industrial spaces are the same, direction from specialized architects and engineers can greatly impact a facility’s workflow, envelope and process in ways that a traditional “off-the-shelf” solution cannot. Rather than accepting an inadequate structure, manufacturers can utilize the expertise of experienced architects and engineers to create customized solutions to leverage their built environment investments.

Prior to embarking on any capital improvement project, it is important to understand the fundamental driver(s) for the investment. A traditional approach usually entails a broad concept that growth requires extra space, which is determined by industry rule of thumb. However, an experienced architecture or engineering professional can lead a manufacturer through a more intentional process, asking questions that can lead to a better use of capital. Questions might include: Why this project? Why has it emerged? What do you hope to accomplish?

Just as one applies Lean and Six Sigma principles to a business process, the same considerations should be made for the manufacturing workplace design. Lean principles with Six Sigma strategies and Performance-Based Design can cut out waste in the workplace and increase production efficiency. With the right architecture and engineering design, manufacturers can become healthier, more productive and, ultimately, more profitable.