Thailand’s industrial segment has developed significantly over the past several decades and has become well-known as a manufacturing base for a variety of industries. Thailand offers great potential which has led it to increasing investment from leading automotive producers. However, some of these factories may already have locations in other countries and are in need of relocation. Factory relocation is a unique and major challenge compared to other logistics-related services.
To find out more, we spoke with Mr. Pasu Unhanandana, Chief Commercial Officer at CTI Logistics, Ms. Orawan Voranij, Vice President of JVK International Movers, Mr. Chanathan Bubphachart Assistant Marketing Manager Heavy Machine Division at JVK International Movers and Mr. Norimichi Taniguchi, Assistant General Manager Machine Installation Section (MIS) Logistics Department at K LINE (Thailand).
Understanding the Risk
Once a business has decided that relocating a factory is the right move, a whole host of new decisions open up. The high value of the machinery and equipment and the shear size and weight of heavy machinery transportation means expertise is needed. While they may seem similar, relocating a factory is a far different process from general project cargo. Forwarders need to understand customer needs, plan and lay out a course of action, and orchestrate many important and complicated moves for extremely bulky and heavy cargo.
The best way to accomplish this is to first study all the details about the machine and to know all the special requirements for certain types of machinery. For factory relocation services, it’s important to prioritize operational safety as well to protect both
front-line workers and a customer’s high value machinery.
Mr. Taniguchi said, “For the factory relocation and heavy machinery transportation, we need to understand our customer’s needs and the complexity of heavy machinery. For us, it is one of the most important things for this service. Not only for the new heavy machinery but also for the used machinery that needs extra care and service. Sometimes, used machineries must be repaired before shipping to the destination. Moreover, several types of heavy machinery need special security. Understanding the risk and safety, at first, this step could help us to make a proper operational plan.”
Ms. Voranij said, “In order to transport heavy machinery from various factories, obstacles and challenges can occur in many ways, such as the narrow workspaces in operating area, the slope, machinery height and high-rise facility. We need specialists to analyze and plan before we begin actually moving equipment. However, the most important factor that we must consider is the safety of people nearby who may be affected while we are operating.”
Mr. Bubphachart said, “Factory relocation and heavy machinery transportation all have different details and limitations compared to other services. There are no fixed rules, so we have a preliminary assessment process to help us understand the obstacles and challenges throughout the transportation process. This is especially important for certain factors such as type of the machinery, location, transportation and operational area limitations.”
In addition, a route survey is needed to check for any obstacles that may be encountered along the route and to allow time to prepare for any kind of challenges that can occur. For instance, sometimes the road might be too narrow, the road may have a weight limit, the height of the machinery cannot make it past an obstacle, the operation requires certain documents and so on. Moreover, the forwarder must apply for a permission to operate in certain areas or transportation routes. Some routes may be prohibited or only allow transit during certain times.
Ms. Voranij said, “Actually, each factory has different rules of operations and different types of machinery require different care. For medical machinery, cleanliness is the most important thing that the customer will be concerned with. Therefore, we need to carefully put the machines in a specific type of packaging that can protect the machinery from dirt. Furthermore, in some industries the machinery is very sensitive to vibrations. For example, electronic machinery that needs to be carefully handled during a transportation. Specialists and engineers are mandatory for taking care of this kind of machinery.”
The challenges of factory relocation project required focused specialists. It is one of the most essential parts of this services. Along with specialized parts of the service like machinery removal or installation, many steps of this service require specialists.
Mr. Unhanandana said, “We need a dedicated team, especially for heavy machinery transportation. An adept team will ensure care is taken all the way through, from the first step to the final step of relocation process. Most of a factory’s machinery is complicated, therefore, the whole process requires focused specialists. In some case, we need to prepare specific packaging for sensitive machinery while operating. Moreover, if the factory is being relocated to another country we need to handle all paperwork and offer expert customs clearance support.”
Planning for Success
For factory relocation service, risk management is an important issue as it provides the vision to deal with all the risks and obstacles. It is important that operating procedures should always be considered when planning. From project design to final installation, factory relocation services need innovative moving solutions. Several heavy machines may require the right and proper protective care while handling, lifting, transporting or packing. Even a little vibration may cause damage to these high value machineries, therefore, contentious planning is important. Before moving any machineries or equipment, the operators should carefully plan the job to ensure that no aspect of machinery or equipment relocation is overlooked. Perfect project plans and decisions throughout the whole process can develop an on-time delivery.
Undoubtedly, the factory relocation services and heavy machinery transportation are delicate services. The challenges of the operation are quite high, and the process need specialist to look after. Minor mistakes and tiny errors may cause damage or harm to the operator and the high value machineries. Consequently, the forwarders need understanding, patience and experience to plans effective operations.