Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association


Improve Shop Workflow and Efficiency

Sep 02, 2020

Shop Safety Manual Cover 300x345Contractors need to analyze ways to improve their current shop layout before investing in any major expansion. With careful examination, you will often discover there is often more unused space available than you first thought.

The updated Shop Layout Manual introduces new fabrication approaches and applications to SMACNA shop fabricators to help them become more competitive. The manual assumes members already have a sheet metal shop in operation, and these guidelines are intended to help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of current shop set ups.

The guidelines may also be applied when designing a shop from scratch, as long as the designer knows the basic sequence of the fabrication process. These guidelines are also useful when expanding an existing shop.

Content Overview

  1. Know the Context for Shop Layout Principles and Concepts
    1. Seek to Deliver Value to Your Customer
    2. Eliminate Waste
    3. Go and See – Remove Bottlenecks
    4. Manage the Shop – Two Priorities
  2. Shop Layout Considerations
    1. Start by Doing Your Homework – Background Considerations
    2. Manage Shop Processes to Optimize Shop Layout
  3. Tools for Improving the Shop
    1. The 5 S's
    2. Kanban
    3. Value Stream Mapping
    4. Spaghetti Charts
    5. Visual Controls
    6. Quick Set up
    7. Produce Quality Right the First Time
    8. Learn from Others
    9. Trial and Error – PDCA It

Since the first SMACNA Shop Layout guidelines were published in 1989, much has changed in fabrication technology and in best practices for shop management. Some of those initial guidelines have become obsolete and others less relevant. However, competition in the sheet metal industry continues to increase, escalating the need for useful guidelines. The updated Shop Layout Manual will help you take your shop’s efficiency to next level.

For questions about this manual, please email Tom Soles, SMACNA’s Executive Director, Member Services, at

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