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MGT613 - Production / Operations Management - Lecture Handout 19

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Facilities layout corresponds to configuration of departments, sections, work centers, equipment with focus being on movement of goods or services or works. A traveler making use of the railway platform, or bus station or airport would be a good example of work being moved through a facility. Often poor design of productive system can result in poor design of the facilities layout. After 9, 11, most of the airports in the western world have shown that they are poorly designed to handle air traffic and passengers end up paying a heavy price in the form of long waiting hours and even people visit airports to see of their family or friend travelers end up reaching the lobby area. The reason being no attention
was paid at the time of design or construction to separate boarding lounge form the ticketing counter or lounge. Such short comings plague organizations and it’s the task of the operations manager to ensure that product as well as service layouts match organizations short as well as long term plans.

Basic Layout Types

The common Basic Layout Types are

  1. Product/Service layout. A layout that uses standardized processing operations to achieve smooth, rapid, high-volume flow
  2. Process layout. A Layout that can handle varied processing requirements
  3. Fixed Position layout. A Layout in which the product or project remains stationary, and workers, materials, and equipment are moved as needed
  4. Hybrid/Combination. A Layout that makes use of the combination of Product, Process or Fixed Position Layout.

Product Layout Characteristics

  1. Product layouts are used to achieve a smooth and rapid flow of large volumes of goods and customers through a system.
  2. The work is divided into a series of standardized tasks, permitting specialization of both labor and equipment.
  3. The large volumes handled by these systems make it pertinent and necessary to invest in equipment and job design.
  4. Layouts should be arranged to make the best use of technological processing abilities to fulfill the requirements of both product and services.
  5. In manufacturing environments the lines are referred to as production lines or assembly lines, depending on the type of activity involved.
  6. In services side, the word line may or may not be used like Healthcare/Hospital Services line, Carwash (absence of word line here) or Cafeteria Line.
  7. Without standardization, many of the benefits of the repetitive processing are lost.
  8. Product Layouts achieve a high degree of labor and equipment utilization, which tends to offset their high equipment costs.
  9. Operations are so closely tied up that a mechanical failure or high absenteeism (rains) would increase vulnerability of the Systems.
  10. We can prevent breakdowns if we religiously follow preventive maintenance schedules, inspection and replacement of worn parts.

Advantages of Product Layout

  1. High rate of output.
  2. Low unit cost.
  3. Labor specialization.
  4. Low material handling cost.
  5. High utilization of labor and equipment.
  6. Established routing and scheduling.
  7. Routing accounting and purchasing.

Disadvantages of Product Layout

  1. Creates dull, repetitive jobs.
  2. Poorly skilled workers may not maintain equipment or quality of output of service.
  3. Fairly inflexible to changes in volume.
  4. Highly susceptible to shutdowns.
  5. Needs preventive maintenance.
  6. Individual incentive plans are impractical.

A U-Shaped Production Line

A U-Shaped Production Line

A U-Shaped Production Line

Straight Line designs are often not practical because of space constraints. U shape Production Line is more compact, and requires often half the length of a Straight Production Line.

U shaped Layouts are a must for teamwork where communication is necessary. U shaped Layouts allow flexibility in work assignments as workers can handle adjacent stations as well as stations on opposite ends. Sometimes U shaped production line interferes with the cross travel/movement of workers, mobile equipment. Highly automated processes do not require teamwork or communication, noise or contamination factors then U shaped Production Lines are not required.

Process Layout

Product Layout

Product Layout

Advantages of Process Layouts

  1. Can handle a variety of processing requirements.
  2. Not particularly vulnerable to equipment failures.
  3. Equipment used is less costly.
  4. Possible to use individual incentive plans.

Disadvantages of Process Layouts

  1. In-process inventory costs can be high.
  2. Challenging routing and scheduling.
  3. Equipment utilization rates are low.
  4. Material handling slow and inefficient.
  5. Complexities often reduce span of supervision.