Presented by: Connect Media, June 18, 2018

Newport Beach, CA-based H. Hendy Associates recently kick-started construction of a new SoCal office and fabrication facility for Southland Industries, one of the country’s largest mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems firms. The Garden Grove, CA facility was designed to enhance Southland’s connected solutions across the entire building life cycle, including engineering, construction, maintenance and energy services.

The Hendy Science and Technology Studio worked closely with Southland to identify pain points, and develop a floor plan that would not only alleviate those concerns, but also create an environment that would support company growth. Connect Media asked the interior architecture and planning firm’s Carolina Weidler to share how it goes about maximizing the way in which space is used in our latest 3 CRE Q&A.

Q: Why is design so important for process-driven spaces, such as fabrication facilities or R&D laboratories?
A: Ask any owner, manager or employee of a process-driven space if their space is unique, and the answer will always be yes. Whether it’s a pharmaceutical company’s clean room or an aircraft assembly line, the specific needs of process-driven spaces are vastly different than your average workspace. This uniqueness translates into precise operations, which necessitates a precise workplace design as well. The rapidly- evolving technology in process-driven industries means that the workspaces need to adapt just as quickly.

Q: How can design and floor plan changes optimize efficiencies?
A: Floor plan and design changes not only solve bottle necks, reduce constraints and improve inefficient work processes, they create an environment that supports company growth. Creating a functional floor plan that is guided by a company’s processes and activities fosters productivity and communication between teams, while improving throughput and linear functions. When exploring a design change, it’s important to speak to employees at all levels in the organization about what is working well, what processes could be improved and what new technologies are being incorporated to create the spaces of the future. This helps put the company at the forefront of emerging trends while keeping the necessary processes intact.

Q: What are the benefits of these changes for employees?
A: Optimized workplace design enhances a company’s productivity by streamlining processes and functionality. It also improves employees’ experience, which in turn supports a company’s recruitment and retention efforts. While design that improves function is critical, it’s also important for companies to incorporate elements that make the workplace more enjoyable and give employees the opportunity to work with the latest technologies.

Process-driven manufacturing, R&D and lab facilities have been evolving rapidly to become the hub of a company’s workspace. This enables companies to use the space to engage new talent, test new technologies, improve the working environment and support the industries they serve. Gone are the unsightly back-of-house spaces. Process-driven facilities are evolving into state-of-the art spaces worth showcasing.