Facility Layout Planning

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Facility Layout planning|
Business and Finance for Engineers|
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A)
Introduction

Choosing the correct layout is key to maximising profit, productivity and communication of a business. “Facility layout must be considered very carefully because we do not want to constantly redesign the facility.”(Weiss & Gersham,pg 343) A poorly chosen design layout will lead to reductions in productivity and increased costs to the business. A good facility layout is intrinsic to any good business whether it be in primary secondary, tertiary or even quaternary sectors of the economy. Although the layouts of each of these may be very different.

When designing the layout of a business there are several factors which must be considered. * Possibility of expansion.
The design and layout of a facility may impede the expansion of the business due to increased or changing demands. Therefore this must be taken into account when designing the layout of the business especially in highly evolving markets. “Although redesigning a facility is a major, expensive undertaking not to be done lightly, there is always the possibility that a redesign will be necessary. Therefore, any design should be flexible.” (Weiss & Gersham, pg 317)

* Safety of the workforce. The facility must be able to operate in accordance to safety regulations and laws. * Flow of process.
A quick and fluid transition of products between one workstation to another is important allowing productivity to and output of the process to be increased. * Use of space.
Utilizing the space correctly is important not just for economic gain allowing the moving of materials and machinery, but due to the safety of the workforce * Ease of material handling. The layout should be orderly and allow for material to easily be moved between workstations. Therefore the placement of related workstations is important.

A poorly designed layout may be very economically taxing and cause poor productivity. These problems may include:

* Large costs for redesigning and changes in machinery due to increased and changing demand. * Poor safety procedures resulting in injury to workforce or even lawsuits. * Unorganized facility leading to confusion and breakdown in communication between workforces, therefore reduction in productivity. * Transition between workstations is slow due to the large amounts of material handling. * Bottlenecking of materials causing a reduction productivity.

There are four main different types of manufacturing layouts which can be adopted by a business, each having there individual advantages and disadvantages. Process Layout
Process layout is characterized by “keeping similar machines or similar operations at one location”( Chandrashekar Hiregoudar,pg 14). It is generally adopted by smaller businesses or businesses which do not specialize in the production of one component but have a wide variety of “non-repetitive” maintenance and manufacturing processes. It involves grouping workstations and machines together according to their function rather than grouping them in accordance to the product which will be worked on, which happens in product layout.

Advantages of process layout

* Allows a wide variety of items to be produced and increases the flexibility of the process * Better quality products are produced due to the specialization of staff to one workstation * Increased concentration and interest of workers due to non repetitive processes and the variety of jobs * The jobs of one section do not interfere with the other sections of the process. e.g. “Lathe operator is not affected by the rays of the welding as the two sections are quite separate” (Chandrashekar Hiregoudar,pg 15)

Disadvantages of process layout

* Main disadvantage is the large amount of space needed as compared with other layouts * Takes longer than other layouts
* Increased distance between workspace...
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