Choosing a Location

“Location, Location, Location.” Is the famous real estate agent’s catch cry. Choosing a location for your plans and goals is just as important. Some locations may not have enough physical space. If your project is a computer project you need to ensure your computer has enough physical memory to store the files. You may select a location based on the proximity to certain suppliers and markets to reduce transport costs. Maybe you like the view from one side of the property. Regardless, choosing a location is important and I will show you some things to consider when selecting your location.

Choosing a Location for Space

This should be an easy one, however, it so rarely is. If our project requires space in the workshop to be completed that is space that can’t be used for other things during that time. If your project is a cleaning and storage project you want to ensure your items are stored so they’re out of the way as much as possible but are accessible when you want them.

Most people find it easy to think in two dimensions but struggle with a third and fourth. For instance, a shelving system allows vertical storage space, and how you stack items on the shelves including the depth, height and length of the shelf will determine how well you use that space. So what about the fourth dimension? The fourth dimension is time or workflow. Particular projects may require a number of assembly steps. A major timber frame joinery project will require a number of workstations for building particular components and then some assembly stations for assembling different stages before the final assembly. In this instance you don’t just think about the floor space required and the height your working at and what you can store underneath or overhead, but the order you must complete tasks.

The Fourth Dimension

In discussing locations the fourth dimension is anything about a location relating to time. So this could be a workflow process or environmental factors. In your kitchen, your oven is storage space for food while it’s cooking and your counters are storage and workspace for food that you’re preparing to cook. So you choose to prepare food that is going to sit in the oven for a while before food that is going to be served cold. Otherwise, the cold food will get in the way while you’re preparing the oven food. The fourth dimension of your location is the hardest to define but also the most important. If it takes you too long to use the location then it isn’t suitable and you’ll end up not using it.

Choosing a location for a Business

Your business location needs space for your staff, stock and equipment. Then if your business produces a product, the Fourth Dimension you need to consider is the proximity to your suppliers and your market. This will affect your transport costs and your overall profit. If you retail your products directly to customers your location needs to be convenient for them to get to at times that are convenient for them to attend. If you’re an online store hosting your website on a server closer to your target market will speed up website response times.

Choosing a Location for a Garden

When you’re choosing a location for a garden, you also need to consider, wind, shade, sun, rain, drainage. These environmental factors add to your fourth dimension. You need to be mindful of slope, soil conditions, how much rainfall the location gets and how you’re intending to irrigate when there isn’t enough rainfall.  How will you access the garden for maintenance and harvest? How much room do you need for your chosen plants? What pests are in the area and how will you defend against them?

Choosing a Location for a Workshop

The fourth dimension for your workshop will depend on what it produces. A workshop that doesn’t produce something is a storage shed. A workshop needs work to happen in it.

This means materials come in, magic happens to them and products go out. The fourth dimension here is all about workflow. Bringing the materials in and unloading them efficiently. Moving materials from the stockpile into the workshop quickly and easily. Then ensuring that each piece can be moved to each workstation safely and quickly and the work can be performed safely and efficiently. All the pieces that are completed need to be stored in the assembly area until the time they are assembled. You need ready access to tools and consumables for each work process. And finally, after assembly, you need to be able to transport the product away from the shop to where it’s going to be used or sold.

Choosing a Location

This diagram illustrates the workflow in this workshop

Adam Savage has a system called First Order Retrievability for organising tools in his workshop. His channel, Tested, has a number of workshop organisation videos.

Workshop Organisation

When you’re planning your workshop, think about your workflow. Some tools are mobile, some tools have to be stationary. Stationary tools should be located where they make the most sense work workflow wise. Cutting tools should be located where you have space for in and out feeds. You can consolidate mills, lathes and CNC machines away from entrances as the most material you work on will fit within the tool area. You will probably have your assembly area in the middle of the shop so you can work all around the space. Tools that don’t need to be in a fixed location can be on mobile trolleys that you bring to your work. Ideal tools for this are Welders and Grinders, Paints and Glues, Sanders, Spanners and cordless drills.

Some overlooked storage space is the roof area of your workshop. You can store bulky rarely used items above your head so you’re not tripping over them.

Conclusion

The location you choose for your plan has a big effect on your final plan and the success of it. Be mindful of not just where it is but when it is. The effects of time on your location and how you utilise it are just as important as any other aspect.

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