Business Management - Operations management strategies: facilities layout
Facilities layout planning
Facilities layout planning is based on finding a physical layout or
arrangement that will enable efficiency of production and be accepted
by employees of the organisation.
Facilities layout may be based on a process, product, cellular or fixed
position production process.
In a process layout equipment for specific tasks is grouped together. Image.
A process layout is one in which all of the equipment that performs a
similar process, function or task is grouped together. The advantage of the
process layout is that it has the potential for economies of scale and
reduced costs. The drawback to the process layout is that the actual path
or track that a product or service takes may become too long and
complicated. A product may need different processes performed on it and
thus must travel through many different areas before production is
In a product layout tasks are arranged in progressive steps. Image.
A product layout is one in which equipment and tasks are arranged
according to the progressive steps involved in producing a single product.
Many fast food restaurants use the product layout with activities
associated with producing the goods arranged in sequence. The product
layout is regarded as efficient when the organisation produces large
volumes of identical items. This duplication of functions can be economical
only if the volume of products produced is high enough to keep each area
working on the specialised products.
Cell unit layouts facilitate teamwork and joint problem solving. Image.
This is layout is based on group-technology principles in which equipment
dedicated to sequences of operations is grouped into small unit areas.
These units provide efficiencies in material and equipment handling and in
inventory management. One advantage of the cell-unit layout is that the
employees work in units that facilitate teamwork and joint problem solving.
Staff flexibility is enhanced because one employee can operate all
equipment in the unit and travelling time between equipment is kept to a
In a fixed position layout the product remains in one location and tasks
and equipment are brought to it. Image.
The fixed-position layout is one in which the product remains in one
location and tasks and equipment are brought to it. It is used to produce a
product or service that is either very large or one of a kind. The product
cannot be moved from function to function or from process to process along
an assembly line. This layout is not good for high volume but is necessary
for large, bulky items and custom orders.
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