Facility Layout

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Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing 25 (2009) 191–203 www.elsevier.com/locate/rcim

Towards measuring the effectiveness of a facilities layout
Dhamodharan RamanÃ, Sev V. Nagalingam, Grier C.I. Lin
Centre for Advanced Manufacturing Research, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Boulevard, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia Received 29 January 2007; received in revised form 18 May 2007; accepted 13 June 2007

Performance measurement models are essential to support various decision making problems that may arise during life cycle of a facilities layout. Available models are only suitable for early stages in the design phase of life cycle. However, measurement models have a great consequence in other phases also such as production planning, control and when modification to be incorporated due to the changes in market demand, which happens very often in today’s global competition. In addition, the existing models have considered only material handling cost as the performance measurement factor. Nevertheless, the empty travel of material handling equipment, layout flexibility and area utilisation have a significant contribution towards the layout effectiveness. It is therefore necessary to have a measurement model to determine the facilities layout’s effectiveness by considering all significant factors. A measurement model considering a set of three layout effectiveness factors—facilities layout flexibility (FLF), productive area utilisation (PAU) and closeness gap (CG)—is developed in our research. The proposed model will enable the decision-maker of a manufacturing enterprise to analyse a layout in three different aspects, based on which they can make decision towards productivity improvement. This paper mainly discusses about the measurement of the CG. The CG is developed with respect to the objective of bringing closer the highly interactive facilities/ departments. The CG presented in this paper extends other related works by incorporating numerous aspects of layout that include empty travel of material handling equipment, information flow, personnel flow and equipment flow. r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Performance evaluation; Facilities layout; Layout flexibility; Area utilisation

1. Introduction
Facilities layout is one of the key areas, which have a
significant contribution towards manufacturing productivity in terms of cost and time, in a manufacturing system. Tompkins [1] stated that 10–30% of material handling cost
(MHC) can be reduced by having an effective facilities
layout. Benjaafar [2] argued that a layout has a direct
impact on the operational performance, as measured by
manufacturing lead time, throughput rate and work-inprocess. Thus it is evident that having an effective layout is critical for productivity improvement in an enterprise.
In general, the facilities layout travels through a life cycle which consists of the following phases: design, implementation, growth, maturity and obsolescence [3]. In each ÃCorresponding author. Tel.: +61 8 8302 3112; fax: +61 8 8302 5292.

E-mail address: dhamodharan.raman@postgrads.unisa.edu.au
(D. Raman).
0736-5845/$ - see front matter r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.rcim.2007.06.003

phase of the life cycle many decisions have to be taken
which include design, evaluation and selection of an
effective layout, production planning, scheduling and the
decisions related to the modification in an existing design due to the changes in market demand, which changes very
often in today’s global competition [4–6]. It is estimated that 8% of the gross national product of the United States
has been spent on new facilities in each year and it excludes the expenses on the modification of existing facilities [1]. To support the above decision making process suitable
measurement models are required as a pre-requisite, since
the performance measurement provides inputs to an...
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