Facilities Design and Layout

Facilities Design and Layout

Facilities design and layout involves planning the layout of workplace to streamline the production process.

Influencing Factors

Critical factors that influence the location and design are:

  • Product selection. It is necessary to decide on the goods and services to be produced before choosing a layout. The good or service chosen needs to be a product of quality at a cost that allows it to be marketed at a competitive price. The layout chosen must be able to be applied to the products being chosen for it to be effective.
  • Volume. This can be difficult as it relies on forecasting future sales. There needs to be flexibility in production capacity plans. This is important to consider when choosing a layout, as the layout selected must be able to adequately cope with the demand for the good and/or service.
  • Activities or processes to be undertaken. The details of production, facilities and human skills needed to produce desired volume, possible breakdowns, maintenance, training of staff and delays in the delivery of inputs can all impact on the choice of layout for an organisation.
  • Space required for operations. It is necessary to determine size of facilities and the space needed for equipment, workers and materials. Decisions should include the possibility of future expansion. Physical space required for the anticipated volume of production. An adequate location of stock and warehousing requirements
  • Layout. This is the arrangement of facilities and the positioning of people. Key aspects to be considered are the size of the goods, the type of Services, the volume of production, security needs, health and safety requirements and flexibility of use.
  • Conformity with legal regulations. It is important to ensure that any layout selected is consistent with existing legislation, rules and regulations, as failure to do this could result in criminal charges or lawsuits.

Examples of the Types of Layouts

Fixed Position Layout

Fixed position layout deals with large-scale processes, such as the construction of bridges, ships, aircraft or buildings. It is typically used in manufacturing organisations.

The advantages of using this approach is:

  • It is most efficient to bring the materials to the site as workers and equipment come to the one work area.

The disadvantages of this layout is that:

  • Materials need changes constantly and it can be difficult to find adequate space to store them safely.

Product Layout

Product layout deals with the manufacturing of goods in mass volume using an assembly line or sequence. This type of layout is typically used in manufacturing organisations.

The advantages of using this layout is that:

  • Cost is reduced because of the use of technology and the staff only complete specialized tasks.

The disadvantages of using this layout is that:

  • It is expensive to set up a capital-intensive, automated assembly line
  • Problems or issues on the production line can mean the whole factory needs to be shut down.

Process Layout

Process Layout deals with high varieties of products by grouping activities, equipment and machinery of similar function together. A Process Layout uses Batch production, which involves each batch being completed at production stage and them moving onto the next stage. In this layout workers should be arranged into work cells, in a U shaped figure. This improves access, requires fewer workers, improved productivity and product/component can be easily altered or completely changed. This is more beneficial when compared to straight production line, as it is harder to divide tasks.

The advantages of using this layout is that:

  • Best suited to organisations that deal with a variety of products.

The disadvantages of this layout includes that:

  • The work can be monotonous for staff, if they are involved in only one stage of the process.

Retail Layout

The aim of retail layout is to maximize customer exposure to products.

Considerations of a retail layout include:

  • Worker and customer safety
  • Customer flow and access to goods
  • Worker movement and positioning
  • Product security
  • Lighting, privacy, change rooms, toilet facilities, customer assistance, noise

Examples of a retail layout being implemented is:

  • Locating high impulse or high-margin products– often at end of aisles or near checkouts.
  • Locating “high draw” items such as bread and dairy products on opposite sides of the store.

Office Layout

Offices deal with flows of information and must effectively support the operations or core business. This layout is typically used in Service Organisations.

Considerations for this layout include:

  • Worker movement and access to equipment
  • Safety
  • Privacy, noise transfer, security of information
  • Ventilation, lighting and climate control.