Setting Up a Factory: Your Guide From Ideation to Completion

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Written By Adeyemi Adetilewa

Each day, hundreds of people across the world decide that they would like to create a factory to produce or process certain materials or products. But only a handful, a tiny portion, ever make it, creating their own factory to fulfill their dream of producing.

Yet that needn’t be so: factories are difficult to set up, but they are far from impossible to pull off. If you have a convincing business case and the funding to back it up, you’ll just need to go through the steps outlined below to set up a factory that is ready to take materials onto its production line. 

1. Funding

All factory dreams require funding to get off the ground. Rarely is private funding, from your savings or those of your friends and family, enough to get you started.

Instead, you’ll need investment or a loan from a bank – and both of these will only be granted if you can prove that your business is viable and likely to make you money once your factory is built. 

So drawing up a business place is vital for your funding journey, helping you to convince the people you need to convince to get your hands on the start-up cash that’ll have you trueing a profit and repaying that cash as soon as possible. 

2. Location

LocationNow that you’ve got the cash in hand, it is time to turn to the location at which you’ll base your factory. Maybe you already have a firm idea of where will be best.

That is usually somewhere with:

  • Cheap land that may already be being used by other factories
  • Wide accessible roads for trucks and lorries to come down to deliver and pick up your goods
  • Links to big cities, where there are hundreds of laborers at hand for you to hire
  • Good infrastructure, so that you can link up to water and electricity easily

If you find the perfect vacant warehouse, that is great – you can move in there for a price. Or, you can buy a plot of land, get permission to build on it, and get cracking – making the outer case of your factory before you start putting anything inside. 

3. Layout

Now that you have a space to call your own, it is time to turn to its layout. This is a tricky process, involving some planning with people who are in the know about the spacing of machines, how you can lay out certain parts of your production line, and essentially the boundaries of the possible.

Remember that you can always expand or extend your factory in the future, should you need more capacity and space.

Once you have a kind of layout in mind, it’ll be time to run it by experts in the field. They’ll offer the necessary tweaks you might need to perform in order to get your factory floor looking realizable. With their assistance, you’ll be ready to start buying the machines you need to set up your factory floor. 

4. The Line

The LineAll factories have a line. That is the case for those that produce goods, with production lines that help process materials into some kind of product.

But it is also the case for factories that merely process materials and goods: there is always a start point and an endpoint. So when you set up your line, you need to buy all the machines, and the conveyors to link them into a line. 

This may be the most lengthy process in your factory creation. It is not easy to coordinate all the moving parts, especially if you are new to the field.

So bringing in expert industrial mechanics and engineers is a must for this stage, using their wisdom to get things connected, working smoothly, and ready to produce. 

5. Connecting Your Factory to Utilities

As mentioned above, one of the main elements that’ll draw you to an area to set up your factory in is the connectivity to utilities like water, electricity, and waste disposal. Your factory can feel like and run like a miniature city when it is finished, and that means it needs an industrial-level supply of these utilities to run smoothly.

Connecting these to your factory may take time, negotiation with suppliers, and a certain level of patience. During this time, though, you can scope out the possibility of installing solar panels or wind turbines on or around your factory, so that at least some of the energy you’re using up will be produced from reliable sources. 

6. Managing Waste

Managing WasteAll factories produce waste. That is a given, seeing as you are processing so much material every day. But managing that waste can be done clumsily or classily, and seeing as you are just setting up your factory, you should be able to focus on achieving the latter.

This means building a process, usually involving conveyor belts or transportation tubs, that’ll deliver waste from any area in your factory to the waste disposal area.

From there, you’ll be required to sort your waste into recyclables of certain kinds – mainly paper, cardboard, and plastics – and those materials that you cannot recycle. You’ll compress that waste in balers, and from there you’ll tie them up with bale wire ready to have your waste collected by waste disposal companies that come right to your doorstep.

This element of your factory is crucial for avoiding the build-up of waste, which can be hazardous, especially if it is flammable. 

7. Risk Assessments

Before you switch on the machines you’ve installed in your line, you’re going to want to conduct a thorough risk assessment of all areas of your factory. Not only is this required by law; it’ll protect you from lawsuits should you have anticipated, warned against, and protected against certain harms that might be present on your factory floor.

All risk assessments require risks to have action, like putting up guard rails, painting hazardous areas in bright colors, or installing kill switches on machines. With these actioned, you’ll be able to turn to staff training – but you’ll need the staff through the door before you can teach them how to remain safe in your factory. 

8. Hiring Staff

Hiring StaffYou may, at the beginning of your factory’s journey, be unsure about just how many staff you are going to need. That is fine: it is something you can adjust as you start running.

But it is important that your first hires are experienced factory workers who know their way around machines and know-how to handle themselves in this kind of industry. The smoother you run in the first couple of months of your operations, the smoother things will run from there on out. 

To hire factory staff, you can look to agencies and recruiters who deal with your sector. They’ll have their finger on the pulse of the right wage packet to offer different levels of seniority, and they have a direct line to many of the kinds of workers you are most interested in finding and securing. Otherwise, use major job sites to advertise roles, attracting talent from across the sector. 

9. Grand Opening

Every factory deserves a grand opening. So much work has gone in to make it ready for action that you should gather all your staff, friends, family, and supporters into your factory for the moment that you switch on all the machines.

Make sure it is a safe affair, with protocols in place to avoid anything going wrong just at the moment that you are showing off the products of your hard work. 

Once you’ve opened officially, it’ll be time to gently ramp up production on your line, testing the limits of the process that you’ve built so that you can predict capacity and performance over the longer term. And then it’ll be time to build contacts with the clients that matter to you and your specific area of industry. 

10. Maintenance

MaintenanceAll factories need maintenance. After you’ve opened and started operating, you’ll still need to conduct several risk assessments every month in order to ensure things remain safe for all of your workers.

You’ll also need mechanics and engineers to poke around in your machines to look out for wear and tear – something that can be fixed quickly unless broken parts are left for something more catastrophic to occur. 

Maintenance needn’t be something that you perform every day, but it should be something that you systematize so that you are never caught short and looking culpable when a machine breaks and a worker gets injured. And, of course, production lines are made to produce. When a machine’s broken, that line pauses and you lose money. 

11. Tweaks

The final tip in this complete guide is to keep an eye on all of the processes taking place within your factory. You are trying to spot and understand opportunities for you to change your setup to make it more efficient and productive. This can be done in conjunction with software analytics, which helps map out your line and spot choke points and areas of inefficiency. 

Your engineers will be the people who can interpret this data and advise what can be done to speed up processes. Over time, that can mean replacing or upgrading machines or even pulling apart your line to build it anew.

Get your factory idea off the ground with the complete list of tips outlined in this article. They all take time to complete, but at the end of it, you’ll have a promising, profitable facility to call your own.

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