OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT: - PLANT LAYOUT
The assignment summarises what is a plant layout, main objectives for designing a good plant layout, the various types of plant layouts, advantages and disadvantages of the respective layouts, what are various techniques used to design a plant layout, and importance of layout in every sector of business, be it manufacturing or services. All this is well explained with live examples from various industries depicting the relevance of each layout.
There has never been anything like the Rouge, Ford’s most famous car-making facility. Located on 1100 acres along the Rouge River in Michigan, the complex at its heyday consisted of 29 factories, 50 miles of railroad tracks, and its own power plant and steel mill. The Rouge employed more than 1000,000 people and produced a new car every 49seconds. Iron ore, coal, and other raw materials went in one end and came out the other as a completed automobile. Today, the Rouge employs about 7000 people and assembles the Ford F-150. Outside suppliers provide most of the components and subassemblies. But great things are happening at this famous facility.
Bill Ford has built a new assembly plant on the site, designed for flexibility and sustainable manufacturing. With flexible equipment and new processes, Ford’s able to ship 90% of vehicle orders the same day. By manufacturing three vehicle platforms and nine different models on a single assembly line, the line has 40% fewer workstations and teams of workers controlling “their own piece of the world.” The flexible manufacturing body shop consists of 16 work cells producing 300 standard parts. Web connections on the plant floor enable workers to share information directly with suppliers, product engineers, and customers. A team leader, for example, can take a digital photo of a poorly fitting part, send it over the Web to a supplier, and get an engineering fix in minutes. Parts delivered directly to the assemble area cut inventory in half, to just 2 hours’ worth and 10 hours offline. Adjustable wooden pallets at workstations can be raised and lowered to facilitate assembly tasks.
Facilities make a difference. They can provide a competitive edge by enabling and leveraging the latest process concepts. For example, factories that once positioned shipping and receiving departments at one end of the building, now construct t-shaped buildings so that deliveries can be made directly to points of use within the factory. Classrooms incorporated desks on wheels to be repositioned for different teaching styles and student interaction. Facility decisions affect how efficiently workers can do their jobs, how much and how fast goods can be produced, how difficult it is to automate a system and how responsive the system can be to changes in product or service design, product mix, or demand volume. World-class companies recognize that long range capacity decisions and facility location decisions are among the most important of their strategic decisions. Development of an effective subcontractor network can lead to improved production technology, reduced capital investment, increased flexibility and capacity, and more stable employment levels. This means that production facilities in general tend to be smaller, more widely dispersed, and located closer to customers.
Facility layout greatly affects the performance of production systems. World-class companies pour great effort into developing layouts designed to achieve competitive priorities for products in their business plans. Manufacturing, warehouse operations, service operations, and office operations share many layout objectives. Chief among these are provision for enough production capacity, low materials-handling cost, provision for the personal and safety needs of workers, low capital investment, and low production costs.
World-class companies strive for flexibility in their layouts, allowing them to change production rates and...
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