By Bob Ferer, The Ferer Group
When I was a kid, I used to collect leftover pieces of wood from my father’s projects. My friends and I would build bicycle ramps used for jumping over obstacles (famed U.S. stuntman Evil Knievel was big back then). Luckily, we didn’t have iPhones and YouTube to record the outcome for all the world to view. From what I see, rigging together disparate materials to build something that fails remains a popular pastime.
In our industry, there exists an expectation for a facility to be purpose-built to our specifications. At the same time, regulators are keen to ensure companies demonstrate that the facilities are suitable. With mergers/acquisitions, as well as cost-cutting initiatives, however, facilities are being shut down and product lines consolidated into existing facilities—risking sub-optimal layout and design. Certainly, I am not suggesting that our industry is building the equivalent of a backyard bicycle ramp, but as engineers and facility operations professionals, we sometimes may act as daredevils skating on that edge.