A Process can be defined as a collection of equipment, methods, people, and systems used together to produce the products/ services required. A Process Strategy in an organization’s approach is to transform resources into goods and services. The objective of the process strategy is to build a process that meets customer requirements and product specifications within cost and other managerial constraint. The process selected will have a long term effect on efficiency and flexibility of production, as well as on cost and quality of goods produced. Therefore much of the company’s operations strategy is provided at the time of process decision. Within a given facility, several strategies may be used. These strategies are often classified as:
Fig. 1 Process-Focused Repetitive-Focused Product focused
Process-Focused Strategy The characteristics: facilities are organized by process, similar processes are together (example: all drill presses are together), low volume, high variety products, ‘Jumbled’ flow. Products follow many different paths. Other names for process focused strategy are intermittent process or Job shop.
Process-Focused Strategy Examples: Machine Shop, Hospital, and Bank.
Custom Woodworking shop
Advantages: 1. Greater product flexibility 2. More general purpose equipment 3. Lower initial capital investment Disadvantages: 1. High variable costs 2. More highly trained personnel 3. More difficult production planning & control 4. Low equipment utilization (5% to 25%) Repetitive Focused Strategy Characteristics: Facilities often organized by assembly lines, Characterized by modules, Parts & assemblies are made previously; Modules are combined for many output options. Other names are Assembly line, Production line E.g. auto-manufacturing, personal computers, house-hold appliances, etc.
Assembly line example
Product focused strategy Characteristics: Facilities are organized by product which require High volume and low variety ; Conversion or further processing of undifferentiated materials such as petroleum, chemicals, or beer; Follows a predetermined sequence of steps, but flow is continuous rather than discrete – highly standardized. Also known as line flow production or continuous production. Examples include paper making, light bulbs, soft drinks, etc. Advantages 1. Lower production cost per unit 2. Lower but more specialized labour skills 3. Easier production planning and control 4. Higher equipment utilization (70% to 90%) Disadvantages 1. Lower product flexibility 2. More specialized equipment
Types of flow system Continuous flow It is characterized by a streamlined flow of products in the operating system. The Conversion process begins with input of raw material at one end, progresses through the system in an orderly fashion to finally become finished goods at the final stage. Production process is sequential and the required resources are organized in stages. Examples are several chemical processing industries such as manufacture of Petrochemicals, steel, pharmaceutical, cement and glass. It ia also used in a discrete manufacturing industry high volume production of very few varieties (such as electrical bulbs or spark plugs)
Intermittent flow It is characterized by mid-volume, mid-variety products/services. It increases the flow complexities. The flow and capacity balancing are difficult but important in intermittent type of flow system. Process industries use batch production methods while discrete industries use alternative methods of designing layout issues. The capacity estimation is hard and production planning & control is complex.
Process design for intermittent flow in Discreet Manufacturing
Jumbled Flow System It occurs on account of non-standard and complex flow patterns characteristic in certain systems. Items are highly customized here and customer orders for one or a few products. Operational complexity arising out of jumbled flow is high. Discrete manufacturing...
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