Global Material Handling System Integrators

What to Expect from an Engineering Study

Stock chart with calculator and penFor those of you managing a distribution or manufacturing center, there is a good chance that you are working with a system that is quickly becoming outdated.  With today's “faster, better, cheaper” mentality, your current system could easily become overwhelmed, especially if downsizing has resulted from the recent economy.  But how do you even start to improve?  You might have heard a little about engineering studies (sometimes called “operational audits” or “operational design studies”).  An engineering studies should utilizing data an information gathered from your current operation, forecast changes based on new requirements or growth, and provide precise recommendations to improve your distribution or manufacturing center.  It should deliver an optimized facility design and provide you with all the information that you need to move forward (or not) with no strings attached.  Here is a quick break down of what to expect when you decide that one of these studies could potentially help you.
What the Consulting Firm should ask for: They should want to discuss with you what your overall goals are.  What do you want this study to accomplish?  The engineering consultant should gather data from yur operation (things like order history, SKU information, operational steps, etc.)  Hopefully this study shows you how to at least improve your current system, or show that a new system will save you money in the long run.  To do this, they will need to understand your current processes so they can benchmark your situation to today’s best industry practices. What the Consulting Firm should be doing: With the information you provide and the data they collect, data models can be created so that design alternatives can start to from.  These models can then be adjusted to determined the effect of new processes or volume changes.  The results can then be used to determine what types of changes or enhancements to your processes, systems, and equipment might make sense for you in the future. What to Expect in the End: At the end of the study, you should receive the entire study with detailed alternatives to your current system.  This study should contain all the data and information that was collected during the study as well as an analysis summary putting it all in perspective.  From his study the consultant should be been able to provide recommendations, budgetary costs and savings, as well as ROI calculations. All in all, an engineering study should help you determine what small steps you can take to improve your system, or what large leaps you will have to take to meet your future goals.  The best way to accomplish this task is to have a good, open line of communication and trust between yourself and the engineering firm that you choose.  A solid partnership is a must to get the most out of a study like this. Click here if you would like to find out some more information about engineering studies


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