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Facility Layout

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Production is the basic activity of all industrial units. Poduction activity is done in factories which house manufacturing processes. The basic inputs of the production processes are labour, equipment or machines, capital, energy, information & resources. The outputs are products or the services.

Planning a facility:

A facility layout is defined as the design or plan of an operating unit in such a way that it optimizes the production of a good of completion of a service. The aim of a facility layout is to lessen the overhead costs while speeding up the production work.

The infrastructure & materials are located in such a way that maximum production is done from available resources.

Types of facility layout:

There are three types of facility layouts:
  • Functional Layout: In this type of layout, all the materials & machines are grouped together according to their function. Eg. Milling machines, here the machines performing similar functions are put together.
  • Line Layout: In this type of layout, equipments are placed in order in which they are used for production. Eg. Food processing units.
  • Fix Position Layout: In this type of layout, the equipments used are kept in a fix position. It happens mostly in case of heavy machinery. Eg. Ship or Aeroplane manufacturing factories.
Fundamental elements of a facility layout:

There are 3 fundamental elements of any facility layout.
  • Type of Production: It determines the type of equipment & machinery which will be used in production thus determining the overall facility layout.
  • Space Available: It will decide the eventual design of the facility. The unit may be multistoried or single storied. It will ensure that there is ample room for all the aspects of production.
  • Exigencies: These are the difficulties or constraints one comes across while implementing a design layout. These may be with respect to space or necessary paperwork.
Thus, the facility or layout is designed keeping in mind the economics of producing each product, the quality & reliability of the products & producibility which means the ease & speed with which the output can be generated.

Factors in determining the efficient layout & design:
  • Flexibility: The facility layout should be such that it can be readjusted or modified according to future expansion or changes.
  • Flow of Movement: It should be a smooth flow from input to output so tat the overall coordination is maintained between various units.
  • Utilization of Space: There should be a proper & optimal usage of space to ensure that all the equipment is properly placed & the handling of materials is done is done best in such a space.
  • Ease of Communication: There should be an effective communication between various aspects of business which is conducive to its overall growth.
  • Safety: Occupational safety measures must be in place for optimum production & cutting losses caused due to hazards.
  • Management of Materials: There should be a proper maintenance & upkeep of equipments to ensure that the production is hassle free.
  • Ensuring High Employee Morale: Since this directly affects production, factors like attractiveness of a facility, ventilation, lighting, restrooms & cafeterias have to be provided for maximum employee participation.

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