Case Studies in Plant Layout Optimization

June 20, 2014

by Connstep Team

Are you relocating your operations to a new site or experiencing capacity constraints in your current location? A focused plant layout optimization exercise can improve capacity and throughput, provide cost savings, and uncover additional efficiencies, while enabling consolidation into a facility with a smaller overall footprint.

In the following case studies, we will examine two such instances where CONNSTEP’s plant layout optimization efforts helped clients successfully consolidate their operations under one roof.

Consolidating Operations & Increasing Capacity at Schwerdtle Stamp Company

The Challenge

The Schwerdtle Stamp Company, a Connecticut-based supplier of industrial stamping dies, embossing tools, and roll marking products, was operating in two separate locations: a former Singer Sewing Machine complex and a multistory building in downtown Bridgeport. They turned to CONNSTEP to optimize their plant layout when they realized that their existing arrangement:

  • complicated their communications;
  • disrupted production processing; and
  • created unnecessary costs.

The Solution

The plant layout optimization effort focused on identifying a current state of operational flow within Schwerdtle’s two facilities, determining optimal process flow and outlining the ways in which the company could transition from the current state to the future state.

CONNSTEP created shop floor, electrical, pneumatic, and water network drawings for the target site and used Value Stream Mapping (VSM) to optimize information flow within the production process.

The plant layout optimization study was particularly illuminating for Schwerdtle. It quickly dispelled their belief that they needed more space to expand their business. The VSM, meanwhile, proved that engaging sales and engineering earlier would reduce lead times through more effective work-level monitoring.  This created available floor space, which helped enable the consolidation.

Consolidating their operations with a focus on more efficient usage of space would deliver the capacity they needed while reducing the company’s overall footprint. 

The Benefit

Following the CONNSTEP project, Schwerdtle moved forward with a consolidation and plant layout optimization. The company increased factory capacity by 25% and realized a 15% reduction in overall costs. The move also created strategic opportunities.

“Consolidating our operations delivered new capacity for two business sectors that represent key strategic growth opportunities,” says Schwerdtle’s President, Kathy Saint. “We are de-emphasizing costly operations and focusing on the products that will drive revenue and profitability in the future. The VSM-based plant layout optimization effort made that possible.”

Leveraging Interdivisional Efficiencies & Footprint  Consolidation with EDAC Technologies

The Challenge

Based in Cheshire, Connecticut, EDAC Technologies is a supplier of highly engineered turbine products, tooling, fixtures, and gages to the aerospace, medical, commercial, and industrial gas turbine industries. As with Schwerdtle, EDAC was struggling to balance their need to grow with the complications resulting from their current operational layout. The company’s multiple divisions were split among three separate locations, causing:

  • reduced efficiency;
  • unnecessary costs; and
  • inhibited growth potential.

The Solution

Value Stream Mapping helped to identify the most cost-effective means for EDAC to realize an optimized plant layout and gain the added capacity they needed. Through a factory consolidation effort, CONNSTEP helped EDAC develop a shop floor layout, large/small machine locations, and a fundamental flow plan for a consolidated shipping area.

In particular, the VSM effort targeted inefficient machine locations, focusing on the creation of a layout driven by effective process flow to prevent production bottlenecks.

The Benefit

EDAC realized that the consolidation of their three separate divisions scattered throughout CT into one 300,000 ft2 facility in Cheshire would present a considerately more cost-effective means of building capacity and vastly improve efficiency within each division.

Overall, the net result was a 30% increase in factory capacity for EDAC’s aerospace components sector, along with reduced costs and improved interdivisional efficiency, communication and cooperation. This will enable the company to continue to grow their operations and anticipate the addition of as many as 100 jobs in the next two years.

“Value Stream Mapping and other Lean techniques have enabled us to focus on our primary product synergies, driving an overall process cost reduction of up to 25%,” says EDAC’s APEX Machine Division Vice President and General Manager, Rock Martel. “The CONNSTEP plant layout optimization project will pay measurable dividends for our jet engine components fabrication division and beyond.”

What Plant Layout Optimization Can Do For You

Using a Value Stream Mapping-driven plant layout optimization effort can help you:

  • gain production capacity
  • increase throughput
  • reduce inventory
  • be more energy efficient
  • cut costs
  • increase revenues
  • make space for new machines
  • avoid having to move altogether
    …and more…

Contact us today to find out what competitive advantages are waiting to be uncovered in your facility.



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President, Engineering Specialties Inc.

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Manager, Fuel Cell Energy

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VP Manufacturing Operations, Hologic

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“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”

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General Manager, Tornik LLC

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President, Colonial Spring Co.

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