Facility Repurposing Best Practices

Use these best practices for a seamless transition during a facility changeover.

By Jimmy Davis

As your organizational needs continue to evolve and respond to new internal and external situations, your manufacturing facility may need to go through a facility changeover. A facility changeover happens when an organization chooses to re-fit an existing facility for a different type of operation from the purpose for which that space was originally used. Most organizations will repurpose a facility at least once—the need for a facility changeover will develop organically as the business adapts and grows over time.facility repurposing

Why Repurpose a Facility?

An organization would need to change over a facility as a response to an external situation or internal organizational changes. There are many changes that catalyze a facility repurpose, including:

  • Emergency Situations: A business’s response to an emergency situation may require a facility to restructure. For example, a business may need to change their staffing situation by either hiring more or scaling down staff or pivot by temporarily ramping up or slowing down production of specific products until the emergency situation resolves.
  • Product Change: Much like a product change from a forced emergency, it is not uncommon for facilities to need to adapt production processes and facilities as the organization eliminates or releases new products based on changing markets.
  • Volume Change: Whether from market, supply, or strategic changes, your organization may need to change the volume of production. To be able to adapt to changes in production volume, a facility may need to completely change the workflow of the manufacturing facilities. These changes can impact both a select division of a facility or the facility as a whole.
  • Process Change:A significant change in manufacturing process can often cause a facility to update and repurpose current workflows. Whether you provide goods directly to the consumer or utilize distribution channels, these updates can cause changes to workflow, shipping and receiving, and packaging processes, and more.

How to Plan for your Facility Changeover

When you decide to restructure your facility, it is important to work through the details of how you plan to implement your redesign before you get started. A detailed plan will help keep your facility repurposing process efficient and prevent running into hiccups or delays so that you can get back into your manufacturing process as quickly as possible. When a facility goes through a repurposing, it is imperative to consider the following factors in your plan:

  1. Line striping and markings:Do you need to update the process lines and markings in your facility? Do your current markings serve your evolving processes or production?
  2. Floor coatings:If your updated process increases foot traffic or will move more equipment through the facility, you might need to consider higher performance or polished concrete flooring to protect your workspace.
  3. Equipment positioning: If you will be moving equipment around, you may need to touch up coatings on the flooring and walls around where old equipment was positioned or where new equipment will be placed.
  4. Secondary containment and spill prevention: When adding tanks or hazardous material storage to your facility, secondary containment coatings and corrosion control systems may need to be updated.
  5. Wall coatings in new areas:New walls, walls that haven’t been exposed before, and new areas may need new finishes before production starts.
  6. Additional support units and structural steel elements:Consider whether you will need to add structural steel elements or install new process equipment in your repurposed space.

Multitasking while Repurposing

Take advantage of the time your facility will be shut down while you are repurposing to perform necessary facility maintenance. Facility maintenance will be more efficient and cost effective during this period because you will not have to work around or consider the impact on production. Some examples of facility maintenance tasks you can perform during repurposing include:

  • High bay cleaning and painting: Taking the time to update your space will make manufacturing more cost-effective when you restart production by improving lighting, facility appearance, and productivity.
  • Floor coatings and high performance flooring: The best time to perform flooring work is during a facility shutdown so that the flooring work does not impair the production process.
  • Wall and detail painting: Wall and detail painting quickly improves appearances and is also faster to complete without working around current production.

Work with a Contractor

facility repurposingConsulting with a professional coatings contractor early in your repurposing planning process can make the restructure less overwhelming by saving your business time and money. This contractor can not only take care of the painting process for you so you can focus on other areas of the restructure, but also can help review plans, perform walkthroughs, and consult on your facility changeover plan. A contractor will help ensure that your changeover process will be as effective and efficient as possible so you can focus on getting back into production as quickly as possible.

Moving Forward

In today’s fast paced world, facilities need to be prepared to adapt to shifting environments and markets at any time. Although facility repurposing can be challenging, partnering with the right contractors can make your changeover a quick and painless process that will optimize your manufacturing process, increase productivity, and help your business stay up to date in today’s ever-changing world.

Jimmy DavisDavis is an industrial project manager with A&K Painting Company, a total service commercial and industrial painting contractor with headquarters located in Charlotte, NC. Jimmy has over 30 years of industrial and commercial coatings experience.

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