The importance of a layout would be better appreciated if one understands the influence of an efficient layout on the manufacturing function: it makes it smooth and efficient. Operating efficiencies, such as economies in the cost of handling materials, minimization of production delays and avoidance of bottlenecksâ€”all these depend on a proper layout.
An ideally laid out plant reduces manufacturing costs through reduced materials handling, reduced personnel and equipment requirements and reduced process inventory.
The objectives or advantages of an ideal layout are outlined in the paragraphs that follow. The advantages are common to all the plants, irrespective of age; and whether a plant employs 50 workers or 50,000 makes no difference in so far as the applicability of the plant layout advantages is concerned. Some of these advantages are:
Economies in Handling
Nearly 30% to 40% of the manufacturing cost is accounted for, by materials handling. Every effort should, therefore, be made to cut down on this cost. Long distance movements should be avoided and specific handling operations must be eliminated. A cynic may say that the cheapest way to handle materials is not to handle them at all. But, in a factory, materials have to be handled; and therefore, it all depends on the layout.
Effective Use of Available Area
Every inch of the plant area is valuable, especially in urban areas. Efforts should therefore be made to make use of the available area by planning the layout properly. Some steps for achieving this end are: location of equipment and services in order that they may perform multiple functions; development of up-to-date work areas and operator job assignments for a full utilization of the labor force.
Minimization of Production Delays
Repeat orders and new customers will be the result of prompt execution of orders. Every management should try to keep to the delivery schedules. Often, the deadline dates for delivery of production...
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