This is always a good question. How much do you need and how much can you afford and still run an operation to top level efficiency are two different questions. One big mistake to avoid when building a new building block or interlocking paving stone plant, is not to under estimate the future finished inventory yard space to store the building blocks and pavers. This is mainly caused for three reasons.
#1 Reason is in today’s world one machine can make a wide variety of products with a simple mold change. For example, with most machines I provide, a producer can be making several types of products in the same day. In the morning they can be producing building blocks, make a quick ten-minute and in the afternoon be making retaining wall units. The next morning, they might be making paving stones.
The good news is the producer saves a lot of money having to purchase only one machine to produce a wide variety of products. The challenge is to plan your inventory reserves so you enough products in stock to supply your customers when they need products. Because you only have one machine to produce all the products manufactured, the plant will require additional inventory space.
#2 Reason is the foresight to predict how large your business will grow. I have seen many of my customers start with one block machine and today have five and now don’t have the space to store all the products and volume those machines can produce.
#3 Reason is plain and simple; the cost may be too expensive or producers may not have the resources to afford more land or be available.
If any of these situations happen, it can greatly affect the growth of your business in years to come. An accurate space design can end up saving your business in years to come.
If you start the business and two years later, you don’t have space to inventory products you are facing a serious problem. You need to have the products in stock for your customers or they will go to your competitor and buy them. Plan ahead and don’t get yourself landlocked on your growth potential.
Generally, it’s ideal to build your plant next to a piece of property where you can have an option to purchase or lease the land in the future. You don’t want to limit the growth of your company by having limited space.
See Below, the space requirements for each size Block Plant:
Level 1 Plants: Plan on at least 15 acres (60,702 m2) for the plant including the yard space and ideally 20 acres (80,937 m2) with optional land space available to grow your business. Additional inventory yard space will be required when you start operating two and three shifts per day.
Level 2 Plants: I see plants that have only 5 acres (20,234 m2) but inventory is very limited. You really need more in the range of at least 10 acres (40,464 m2) and ideally, 15-20 acres. (60,702-80,937 m2) Your next step would be to add a second block machine on the same site. So plan on a site with adjoining expansion possibilities and a first right to purchase land option to grow your business. In the years to follow you will be glad you did.
Level 3 Plants: Total acres tor the plant should be 6 acres (24,281 m2) and ideally, if possible, up to 15 acres. (60,702 m2).
Level 4 Plants. Total acres for the plant should be 4 acres (16,187 m2) and ideally, if possible, up to 8 acres. (32,375 m2).
Level 5 Plants. Machine systems are very good as portable units allowing you to go on-site with equipment to dramatically limit space and storage area. In the case of a normal plant setting, 1 to 5 acres (4047-20,234 m2) is good allowing for growth in the future.