Process Layout is also referred to as ‘Functional Layout’ or ‘Job Shop Layout.’ Designing a process layout involves organizing the various components and workstations within a facility to optimize workflow, performance, and productivity. In the following article, you can gather information about steps, disadvantages, and advantages of process layout.
Steps of Designing Process Layout
Here are the important steps of designing process layout:
1. Define Objectives
Clearly outline the objectives and goals of the process layout design. Consider elements along with manufacturing quantity, flexibility, protection, and cost-efficiency.
2. Gather Information
Collect data on the existing facility, which includes the available space, equipment, employees, and product/service requirements. Analyze historical data on production approaches and workflow patterns.
3. Create a Flowchart
Develop a flowchart or process map that visually represents the sequence of steps in the production and service delivery process. Identify key activities, inputs, and outputs.
4. Analyze Workflow
Evaluate the flowchart to become aware of bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and regions for development. Look for opportunities to streamline tactics and reduce waste.
5. Group Similar Processes
Group similar approaches or workstations collectively primarily based on their functional requirements. Consider elements like equipment compatibility, resource sharing, and material handling.
6. Allocate Space
Allocate space for each process or workstation based on its size, equipment, and personnel necessities. Ensure that there’s sufficient space for secure and efficient operations.
7. Consider Safety and Ergonomics
Prioritize safety and ergonomics in the layout design. Ensure that workstations are designed to decrease the risk of accidents and that they’re ergonomically friendly for personnel.
8. Plan for Material Handling
Design efficient material handling systems, together with the placement of storage areas, conveyor belts, forklift routes, and loading/unloading zones.
9. Minimize Transportation
Aim to reduce the distance and time required to move materials or products between workstations. This can assist in reducing unnecessary movement and related prices.
10. Flexibility and Scalability
Design the layout to adjust production quantity or product/service variations. Consider future growth desires and the ability to reconfigure the layout without problems.
11. Employee Input
Involve employees in the layout design procedure, as they have valuable insights and suggestions for improving workflow and performance.
12. Simulation and Testing
Use simulation software or conduct pilot checks to validate the proposed layout design. This can help prevent any unexpected problems and refine the format for that reason.
13. Implement and Monitor
Once the layout is finalized, enforce the adjustments steadily to reduce disruptions. Continuously monitor and examine the new layout’s overall performance, making changes as needed.
Document the very last layout design, along with ground plans, equipment specifications, protection suggestions, and any standard operating procedures (SOPs) related to the layout.
Provide training to personnel on the new layout and any adjustments in procedures or strategies. Ensure that everyone is acquainted with the updated workflow.
Advantages of Process Layout
The advantages of process layout are as:
1. Lower Capital Investment
No heavy capital investment is required under the process layout. In the absence of any prescribed sequential order for various operations, a lot of flexibility is available with regard to the quantity and variety of products manufactured using the same general machines/equipment. Output is more under this type of outlay, especially in proportion to the low level of investment.
2. Greater Flexibility
Machines are not specialized; they are general machines which can undertake a variety of operations. Irrespective of the level of production, whether high or low, the same layout may be used without causing much disturbance to the departmental set-up. It is one of the advantages of process layout. Production can be planned with greater flexibility. In case of some additional work coming in, even at short notice, it is feasible to complete the task without dislocating the normal routine work and schedule.
The departments are created on the basis of functional performance; each department and its personnel are considered to have specialization in their area. The full potential of their skill is put to use.
4. Effective Supervision
As each supervisor is responsible for the supervision of a limited number of operations in the department, the exercise of supervision is quite effective. Their supervisory skills attain maturity with time. Their proficiency level in planning, directions, control and maintenance of their department rises to a desired level.
5. No Disruption in Work Schedules
Machines and tools of a department are capable of carrying out a variety of operations. As such, the breakdown of one machine may not result in destabilizing the entire production process and schedule. In the event of machinery breakdown, the operation of the broken-down machine can be easily shifted to another machine of the same department, and the departmental operations may continue without any interruption.
6. Lower Overhead Costs
Overhead costs in the process layout are low due to the following:
i) Low initial capital investment decreases the risk levels.
ii) Flexibility in production equipment ensures less obsolescence due to fluctuations in the market demand for a product.
Disadvantages of Process Layout
The disadvantages of process layout are as:
1. Complexity of Production Planning and Control
Under the process layout, in the absence of a system of the sequential order of the production process, routing and scheduling become unmanageable and exhaustive. The entire production process is divided into fragmented functions to be carried out by various departments. Under such an arrangement, it takes work to fix the accountability in case of any lapse in overall performance. Further, the process layout is characterized by non-repetitive and non-standardized processes, and as such, various means are needed to be adopted for carrying out each process. The individual department is required to maintain a separate set of work orders, material requisitions, time cards, etc., with respect to each process,
2. Frequency of Inspection
Under the process layout, every individual department is assigned a specialized job for which it is responsible. The output of one department becomes the input of another department. In these circumstances, it becomes essential that each department is subjected to frequent inspections. This would ensure that one department keeps the material processed by the previous department.
3. Difficulty of Materials Handling
The level of material handling is higher under the process layout due to the simple reason that materials are required to be moved from one department to another, and many a time, longer distances are covered. Further, the mechanization of material handling under process layout is more challenging due to the presence of specific channels associated with the flow of material.
4. Greater Floor Area
The floor space requirement under the process layout is more as compared to the requirement under the product layout. Besides various departments, a lot of space is needed for setting up miscellaneous utilities for purposes like temporary storage, provisions for aisles, inspection cribs, service facilities, etc. Another reason for the larger space requirement is the fact that production processes are not as systematic and as reasonable as in the case of product layout.
5. Wasteful Backtracking
Process layout essentially analyzes a large number of operations taking place in various departments. Keeping a mark on all the ongoing operations, therefore, becomes unavoidable. This is an additional job, which, besides being unproductive, results in increased overhead cost but is required to be undertaken.
6. Longer Processing Time
As a number of departments are involved in the process of production, the entire process becomes rather prolonged; the job completed by one department is required to be shifted to the next department to do the needful at its level, after which it would be the turn of still next department, and this goes on. A considerable amount of time is consumed in receiving the work from the former department and loading the machines for further processing. When viewed holistically, the cumulative effect of the time consumed is quite substantial.
7. Larger Stock of Materials in Process
At any given point in time, a huge stock of materials is blocked up in the process of production due to the difficulties faced during material handling and recurrent backtracking. This leads to a higher level of working capital requirement, slow turnover and low rate of return on investment.