Caterpillar Fab Shop

Caterpillar Fab Shop

Caterpillar (Bucyrus) retained GRAEF to evaluate their existing fab shop and improve the space. The facility was outdated and bottlenecks and inefficiencies were common in the process flow. The fab shop included 12,300 square feet of workstations and 14,000 square feet of staging areas and aisles. GRAEF conducted value stream mapping, gap analysis, and interviews to give employees input into an optimal layout. The solution to the facility inefficiencies included a cellular layout of work stations, thus adding flexibility to the workload approach.

Data was obtained in a process of interviews, gap analysis, and value stream maps, providing three different approaches to information. GRAEF was able to form an accurate view of the process, areas for improvement, develop a questionnaire and conduct interviews with shift operators to determine conditions and future needs.

The survey covered topics ranging from product flow and order leveling to workplace organization and total productive maintenance. The survey results were tabulated and graphed, giving clear indications of the areas that employees felt had the most room for improvements.

The final step in data collection was creating a value stream map for three different product families. Each map measured production rates, scrap and rework percentage, operator availability by workstation, and distance traveled between processes. GRAEF prepared future state value stream maps for each product family, based on the idea of reducing “waste” throughout the process and increasing output. These future value stream maps became the template for GRAEF’s proposed shop layout options.

GRAEF recommended numerous changes to improve the overall facility including improvements in lighting, air quality, material handling, product route mapping, workplace organization, and production release.

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Project Data

3,000 Square Feet of Office Space
52,000 Square Feet of Manufacturing Space


GRAEF Services

Industrial Architecture
Civil Engineering
Environmental Engineering
Field Services
Structural Engineering
Fire Protection

Caterpillar Fab Shop Contact

Wolfe Uriah Cropped

Uriah Wolfe

Practice Area Leader - Industrial, Market Team Leader - Industrial