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Building and Developing a Smart Factory

Building and Developing a Smart Factory

Then first of our key developments to go live in 2020 is our new Production Facility, something I have been trying to make happen for six years! Take a look below at 6 months of hard work condensed into a 3 and a half minute clip full of time lapses and insight into what it takes to develop a smart factory:

Taking on a project of this scale isn’t for the faint hearted, particularly in the back drop of political uncertainty, leaving the EU and challenges in the economy that are inextricably linked those situations.

As a company we had outgrown our premises, built in 1985 by my father Graham, we then rented a further four small units in the same town, then another unit 3 miles away!

So after 5 years of negotiations we secured just under 1 acre of land in a prime plot of the new business park in Sherborne.

The ‘Smart factory’ concept developed around how our business had changed in the last 40 years with ever increasing automation. So with a blank piece of paper we had the luxury to design the building around productivity, something we are still working on and will constantly be developing.

As work began, it soon became clear that no matter how much planning went into the build, we were likely to be nudged off schedule fairly regularly – but once groundworks were complete the steel frame soon went up. Cladding started to make our building look almost ready, but of course these are the fun parts where you see massive progress in a very short period of time.

When it came to the floor and mezzanine we saw some more big milestones but from then on it became a slow process of incremental progress, all the little details, office walls, plumbing, wiring, painting, hanging doors, seemed to go on for a life time. This was the stage at which I became more hands on and working on the building myself along with some of our staff coming in to help out when capacity allowed.

Working from a laptop on a camping table on the mezzanine sending quotes and emails between fitting plasterboard to walls became the norm for several months – a time I enjoyed but am also not ready to repeat for a year or two!

We have now moved all three of our sites into the new building and while we still have work to do, we can see the efficiency that has been delivered to many aspects of our production.

Design and Print from a production perspective are notoriously challenging to schedule and produce efficiently due to the complex processes involved but we have made strides in the right direction with further ‘Kaizen’ style processes underway to further enhance our smart factory concept which will continue for years to come.

All of which has one aim of delivering better for our clients, better quality, better lead times and if you are really lucky I can also offer a great drywall service too!

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