Applying Lean production principles to facilities design of ramp-up factories
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Purpose – This study aims to examine how lean production principles (LPP) can be incorporated in the context of ramp-up factories to improve future ramp-up factory designs. The application of LPP to the facilities design of ramp-up factories can help to reduce waste and achieve higher-quality products. However, the traditional design philosophy of “design follows function” has not considered the application of LPP during the early design development stage to more effectively meet tenants’ operational needs at the occupation stage. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a review of past literature, a set of LPP-driven facilities design features is presented, which seek to integrate traditional design principles and LPP. A survey was subsequently carried out with tenants operating in ramp-up factories to determine the relevance of the proposed LPP-driven facilities design features from their perspectives. Findings – It is found that generally most of the proposed LPP-driven facilities design features can help to improve tenants’ operational needs after the building is occupied. The study found that the significant LPP-driven facilities design features for ramp-up factories include: large span, clear floor-to-ceiling height, rectangular bay, wide frontage area, mezzanine floor system, evenly distributed lighting, white or light colour surfaces, private parking spaces, private loading/unloading bay, clearly defined car park entrance, wide vehicular ramp, wide driveway, sheltered loading/unloading bay and multi-storey car park embedded in the complex. The reasons for their significance are explained in the study.Practical implications – The LPP design model for ramp-up factories provides a useful checklist of important tenants’ requirements for the designers of ramp-up factories. This research also suggests that it is desirable to apply LPP in the design stage to improve the facilities design of ramp-up factories that is beneficial to tenants at the occupation stage. Originality/value – This research formulated a design model integrated with LPP for ramp-up factories. It extends the traditional design approach of “design follows function” to encompass LPP to transform the approach to a new LPP-driven facilities design philosophy. This new approach serves to better meet tenants’ requirements at the occupation stage. It is recommended that architecture schools incorporate the LPP-driven facilities design approach as one of their educational outcomes.
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