Designing Product Layout
Product Layout, additionally called ‘Straight Line Layout,’ ‘Line Processing Layout,’ ‘Flow Line Layout,’ or ‘Layout for Serialized Manufacture’. It organizes equipment in a selected order that suggests their sequential roles in the production technique. In the following article, you will know the disadvantages and advantages of product layout. In this association, one end serves as the entry point for raw materials, while the opposite gives up and acts as the exit for finished items. Between those endpoints, various manufacturing cycle steps occur in a predetermined collection.
This type of format is most appropriate for manufacturers of standardized products with great demand. The manufacturing method itself is characterized by way of routine, repetitive, and monotonous tasks. However, each manufacturing step demands a specialized workforce and equipment.
The abundance of completed items in one of these gadgets makes it an attractive investment choice, prompting potential investors to make big investments right away. Given the constrained variety of objects, the complete layout can be tailor-made to meet the technological processing requirements precise to the services or products.
Advantages of Product Layout
Product layout is considered beneficial in view of the following:
1) Regulation of Production
Regulation of the production process is an inherent feature of the product layout. The entire exercise of production is carried out according to a planned sequence, and each stage involved therein may be monitored and controlled wherever required.
2) Scientific Materials Handling
Under the product layout, materials are handled cost-effectively through the use of modern scientific devices like rollers, conveyors, monorails, chutes, etc. Installation of such low-cost movement devices leads to not only substantial savings on account of labor but also ensures prompt and hassle-free movement of materials from one point to the next.
3) No Bottleneck in Production
No scope is left for any bottleneck in a well-thought sequential plant line. Phenomena like back-tracking, interruption in product flow and other forms of obstacles in workflow can be totally wiped out through techniques like balancing equipment, operations handling and workers’ assignments.
4) Speedier Production
As the entire process of production – right from the receipt of raw materials to the shipment of finished goods- takes place through a system of shortened built-in sequence of the plant complex, the total time taken is very short. The level of working capital (in the form of raw materials, work in process and finished goods) is kept at the lowest one. It is the advantages of product layout.
5) Lesser Supervision
A pre-decided sequence of various stages of product requires less supervision or inspection. A limited inspection is undertaken at the points of critical situations.
6) Greater Possibility of Space Utilization
Under the production layout, due to an advanced material handling system in place, floor area may be utilized more creatively in an optimal manner. Space for the temporary storage of materials is not required at all.
Disadvantages of Product Layout
Product layout suffers from the following shortcomings:
1) Heavy Capital Expenditure
Under the product layout, capital investment for acquiring machines and equipment is of a rather high order. Further, the provision to have special facilities and sustain the serially ordered operations in place also needs huge investment. The entire process entails heavy capital outgo at the initial stage itself without any certainty with regard to the returns. An organization not only needs to have deep pockets but also a high-risk risk appetite if it decides to go for the product layout.
2) High Overhead Charges
The overhead charges under the product layout are also high, in proportion to the heavy investment. If, for any reason, there is a reduction in the demand for the product, the fixed overhead cost becomes a burden in the face of overcapitalized equipment and underutilized capacity. It is, therefore, of paramount importance that the demand for a product (present as well as future) be determined carefully in a realistic manner. It is one of the disadvantages of product layout.
A breakdown in any of the machines (or processes) arranged in a sequential order may bring the entire process to a standstill; all the machines and workforce in the queue subsequent to broken machinery would be compelled to stay inactive till the time the broken machine is brought to normal working condition
Under the product layout, all the machines and men have specialization for performing certain kinds of jobs. The performance of both the machines and the men is interchangeable (lack of flexibility). Any changeover or machine replacement necessitated for betterment purposes is not only a costly affair, but it is also likely to result in the entire production process going out of control.
5) Additional Output not Possible
Under the product layout, the manufacturing capacity of the entire setup is limited. Reduction in such capacity is possible only at a cost, but to enhance the capacity with a view to meet an increase in demand for the product is just not possible.
6) Lack of Specialized Supervisors
In a product layout, a number of specialized machines operate in a sequential order. Supervision of the entire production process requires special knowledge of various machines in a wholesome manner. Such supervisors are not easy to find out; their search poses a major challenge.