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Operations Management - Introduction to Operations Management

Types of layout - Introduction to Operations Management

   Posted On :  22.06.2018 06:59 am

In an industrial set up, sometime, the machines and equipments are arranged in one line depending upon the sequence of operations required for the product.

Types of layout
There are mainly four types of plant layout:
(a)      Product or line layout
(b)      Process or functional layout
(c)     Fixed position or location layout
(d)     Combined or group layout

(a) Product or Line layout

In an industrial set up, sometime, the machines and equipments are arranged in one line depending upon the sequence of operations required for the product. The raw materials and semi-finished materials move from one workstation to another sequentially without any backtracking or deviation.

 Under this, machines are grouped in one sequence. Therefore materials are fed into the first machine and finished goods travel automatically from machine to machine, the output of one machine becoming input of the next, e.g. in a paper mill, bamboos are fed into the machine at one end and paper comes out at the other end.
The raw material moves very fast from one workstation to other stations with a minimum work in progress storage and material handling. The grouping of machines is done on following general principles.
1.  All the machine tools or other items of equipments must be placed at the point demanded by the sequence of operations
2.  There should no points where one line crossed another line.
3.  Materials may be fed where they are required for assembly but not necessarily at one point.
4.  All the operations including assembly, testing packing must be included in the line

Advantages of Product layout

1. Low cost of material handling, due to straight and short route and absence of backtracking
2. Smooth and continuous operations
3. Continuous flow of work
4. Lesser inventory and work in progress
5. Optimum use of floor space
6. Simple and effective inspection of work and simplified production control
7. Lower manufacturing cost per unit

Disadvantages of Product layout

1. Higher initial capital investment in special purpose machine (SPM)
2. High overhead charges
3. Breakdown of one machine will disturb the production process.
4. Lesser flexibility of physical resources
Thus, these types of layouts are able to make better utilization of the equipment that is available, with greater flexibility in allocation of work to the equipment and also to the workers one should be very cautious about any imbalance caused in one section is not allowed to affect the working of the other sections.

(b) Process or functional layout

In this type of layout machines of a similar type are arranged together at one place.
`For example, machines performing drilling operations are arranged in the drilling department, machines performing casting operations be grouped in the casting department. Therefore the machines are installed in the plants, according to various processes in the factory layout.
Hence, such layouts typically have drilling department, milling department, welding department, heating department and painting department etc. The process or functional layout is followed from historical period. It evolved from the handicraft method of production. The work has to be allocated to each department in such a way that no machines are chosen to do as many different job as possible i.e. the emphasis is on general purpose machine.
The work, which has to be done, is allocated to the machines according to loading schedules with the object of ensuring that each machine is fully loaded.

Advantages of Process layout

1. Lower initial capital investment is required
2. There is high degree of machine utilization, as a machine is not blocked for a single product
3. The overhead costs are relatively low
4. Breakdown of one machine does not disturb the production process
5. Supervision can be more effective and specialized.
6. Greater flexibility of resources

Disadvantages of Process layout

1. Material handling costs are high due to backtracking
2. More skilled labour is required resulting in higher cost
3. Work in progress inventory is high needing greater storage space
4. More frequent inspection is needed which results in costly supervision
Thus, the process layout or functional layout is suitable for factories / businesses which have job order production; that is involving non-repetitive processes and customer specifications and non-standardized products, e.g. tailoring, light and heavy engineering products, made to order furniture industries, jewelry etc.

(c)Fixed position or location layout

Fixedpositionlayoutinvolvesthemovementofmanpower and machines to the product which remains stationary. The movement of men and machines is advisable as the cost of moving them would be lesser. This type of layout is preferred where the size of the job is bulky and heavy. Example of such type of layout is locomotives, ships, boilers, generators, wagon building, aircraft manufacturing, etc.

Advantages of Fixed position layout

1. The investment on layout is very small.
2. The layout is flexible as change in job design and operation sequence can be easily incorporated.
3.  Adjustments can be made to meet shortage of materials or absence of workers by changing the sequence of operations.

Disadvantages of Fixed position layout

1. As the production period being very long so the capital investment is very high.
2. Very large space is required for storage of material and equipment near the product.
3.  As several operations are often carried out simultaneously so there is possibility of confusion and conflicts among different workgroups.

(d) Combined or group layout

Certain manufacturing units may require all three processes namely intermittent process (job shops), the continuous process (mass production shops) and the representative process combined process [i.e. miscellaneous shops]. In most of industries, only a product layout or a process layout or a fixed location layout does not exist. Thus, in manufacturing concerns where several products are produced in repeated numbers with no likelihood of continuous production, combined layout is followed.
Generally, a combination of the product and process layout or other combination are found, in practice, e.g. for industries involving the fabrication of parts and assembly, fabrication tends to employ the process layout, while the assembly areas often employ the product layout.
In soap, manufacturing plant, the machinery manufacturing soap is arranged on the product line principle, but ancillary services such as heating, the manufacturing of glycerin, the power house, the water treatment plant etc. are arranged on a functional basis.
Tags : Operations Management - Introduction to Operations Management
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