Human-Centric Design is on the Way

Today I met with a company contemplating a greenfield facility design on a large plot of land. The facility will host both production and a warehouse to support raw materials, work in process, and some finished goods storage. During the discussion, the project manager showed me two designs—one a single, large facility and one consisting of several smaller facilities in a “campus” arrangement. When asked what motivated the campus arrangement, which seemed to me much less efficient, the manager stated that a major design goal for this facility was talent retention. Well, imagine that!

As I argued in a conference paper in 2010, there is a major need for industrial engineers to work with architects, interior designers, and industrial psychologists (at least) to design facilities that are not just “efficient,” but also appealing to workers. The talent crisis continues unabated, and major corporations designing entire facilities to attract quality workers is just the latest evidence that the problem is recognized and serious.

Dear colleagues, let us rise to the challenge!


    1. They did not get into the details, but I’m pretty sure they are just using intuition. I can see the point—when is the last time you were in a 500,000 sqft facility that sang “great place to work!”

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