This is part three in a four-part series investigating the potential lessons that the Cannabis industry can learn from Lean Manufacturing. Anderson Porter Design has an extensive background in Lean Design and Lean Construction Management: Principal Brian Anderson co-founded the Lean Construction Institute New England Community of Practice, which Dan Anderson currently leads, and several team members are certified as Lean Construction Managers through the AGC of MA.

As discussed in our previous post, a clearly defined and thoroughly developed architectural Program can contribute significantly to the lessening of the waste of Defects (or Rework). In this article, we’d like to dive in to the next step which comes after programming – space planning and facility layout. Some of this work will begin in the Programming phase, and this part of the architectural design process contributes significantly to the reduction of waste, or inefficiency, over the lifetime of your facility.

An efficiently designed facility can impact waste reduction in several ways. Perhaps most obvious is by designing your space so that the manufacturing process occurs sequentially throughout the building (the spaces for step one in the process are located adjacent to the spaces for step two, and so on) you can address the waste of Transportation – why should your employees (or your product) travel greater distances throughout the facility to complete a task than needed? By understanding your targeted yields and yearly financial goals, we can maximize the square footage you have available through efficient space planning and layout design, which improves flow efficiency.

In addition to addressing Taiichi Ohno’s eight wastes from a Lean perspective, Architects and Engineers can also help you visualize methods for reducing physical waste in your production processes. For example, through the design of highly efficient, closed loop systems it is possible to realize a facility with zero waste water (not to mention this is sometimes even required by local municipalities whose systems cannot accommodate the NPK salts contained in wastewater created by a marijuana cultivation facility). Waste heat produced in your facility can be captured and reused, and highly efficient cooling systems can be implemented to reduce electrical requirements, boosting energy efficiency and lowering operational costs.  

All the systems (including the human-powered ones) within your building will work together to produce your end product, and in order to increase profits, speed and accuracy of production it is essential that they are all designed as a cohesive whole right from the start. Therefore, it is important to assemble a well-rounded team early in the design process, which we will discuss further in our next post. Stay tuned for more, and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more about working with us.