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Report: Facility Layout Design for Lean Operations

On Monday evening, October 28, the National Capital Chapter convened a membership meeting at Pioneer Hall, National Electronics Museum, in Linthicum, Maryland. By all accounts, the meeting was a huge success. The number attending was 50, including 11 students from Morgan State University Student Chapter. There were 18 IIE members and 21 undeclared.

Northrop Grumman sponsored the meeting space, hors d’oeuvres, and soft drinks.

Presentations by Assistant Professor Jeffrey W. Herrmann, University of Maryland, and David Rizzardo, Lean expert at the Maryland Technical Extension Service (Mtech) were excellent and both speakers engaged attendees with provocative statement and questions for the audience. Their presentation was an overview of the two-day course they offer on the subject of facility layout design for lean operations.

Both speakers provided convincing presentations on the benefits of lean thinking during the layout design of a facility and how it leads to higher revenue and happier customers (and in some cases survival of the business).

A lean facility layout avoids common causes of waste (motion, waiting, inventory, defects, transportation, over-processing, and more) throughout the operations to support a Lean strategy of constantly improving and creating value for a business units customers. Toyota, Nike, General Electric, and Boeing are among the companies successfully employing lean manufacturing principles to design their facilities and improve their organizations.

In their talk, the speakers addressed topics such as:

  • Introduction to Lean Principles and Wastes
  • The Facility Design Process
  • Understanding Product Families & Current Flows
  • Types of Facility Design Approaches
  • Cellular Design
  • Equipment Considerations
  • People Factors for Facility Design
  • Implementation Issues
  • Dr. Sean Gahagan, Industrial Engineering Manager at Northrop Grumman and his staff managed the entire event. They secured the speakers, the venue, the caterer; they prepared the announcement and collected registrations; they notified the Morgan State University Student Chapter and individuals beyond the list of National Capital Chapter members; and, they did all those other nitty-gritty activities associated with a chapter event like this. Sean Gahagan is a member of the National Capital Chapter.

    The National Capital Chapter’s Board of Directors, with this article, publicly expresses its appreciation to Dr. Gahagan and his staff for their help in serving the Chapter’s membership, especially those in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.


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