Category Archives: Facility Decisions: Layouts

Review and Discussion Questions

Review and Discussion Questions

2. What is the objective of assembly line balancing? How would you deal with the situation where one worker. although trying hard, is 20 percent slower than the other 10 people on a line?
3. How do you determine the idle-time percentage from a given as emblem line balance?
4. What is the essential requirement for mixed-model lines to be practical?
5. Why might it be difficult to develop a group technology layout?
6. In what respects is facility layout a marketing problem in services? Give an example of a service system layout designed to maximize the amount of time the customer is in the system?
7. Visit a major hotel in your area and describe the layout of its operations?
8. Describe the layout of a branch office of a bank?
9. How might you design the layout for a walk-in clinic?
10. Visit two different supermarkets. What similarities do their layouts share in common?

Conclusion

Conclusion

As we saw in the opening vignette. the choice of which type of facility layout to adopt can have a significant impact on the long-term success of a firm. This decision. therefore should not be made lightly but only after an in-depth analysis of the operational requirements has been completed.

A major issue to be addressed in facility layout decisions in manufacturing is: How flexible should the layout be in order to adjust to future changes in product demand and product mix?' Some have argued that the best strategy is to have movable equipment that can be shifted easily from place to place to reduce material flow time for near-term contracts. However while this is appealing in general the limitations of existing buildings and permanently anchored equipment and the general plant disruption that is created make this a very costly strategy In service systems particularly with multilocation chains the study of layout has become extremely important because the selected layout can be replicated at hundreds or even thousands of facilities. Indeed a layout error in a fast-food chain has a more immediate and generally a more fa reaching impact on profits than a layout error in a factory.

Spatial Layout and Functionality

Spatial Layout and Functionality

Unlike manufacturing firms where the goal in designing a layout is to minimize the cost of moving material between areas one of the goals of a service operation is to minimize the travel time of employees and in some instances customers. At the same time, the service firm is trying to maximize revenues per customer by exposing them to as many opportunities as possible to spend their money. For example, the long lines to get into the shows at Las Vegas casinos wend their way through slot machine areas so customers will play the slots while waiting. Operations such as IKEA a hail of Swedish furniture stores and Stu Leonard's Dairy Store in Norwalk Connecticut are designed so the customer after entering the store must go through the entire facility to e it not unlike a maze with a single path through it.

Ambient Conditions

Ambient Conditions

These refer to the background characteristics of the operation,including noise level lighting and temperature. (It often is said that the prices in restaurants are inversely related to the amount of lighting the darker the restaurant the more expensive the food) Hanging lights over tables as seen in some of the better restaurants suggests privacy recessed lighting in ceilings on the other hand as seen in many fast-food operations send different signals to the customer.

Layout Considerations in Services

Layout Considerations in Services

to be taken into consideration. First, the cost per square foot for retail locations is u ually very expensive (in comparison to that for a manufacturing facility). Service retail operations. therefore, must design their facilities to maximize the sales generated per square foot (or square meter). To accomplish this, operations such as restaurants have reduced the percentage
of area devoted to the back-of-the-house operations, like the kitchen, to allow more area for the customer in the form of additional seating. One way this is accomplished, as discussed in an earlier chapter, is through the use of a quasi manufacturing facility or central commissary where food can be economically prepared in a relatively low-cost area. Another approach is taken by Benihana's of Tokyo, a chain of Japanese steak houses. There the strategy is to move the kitchen to the front of the house so customers can actually participate in the food preparation process.

Another service unique factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the costumer's presence in the transformation process. As a result, the decor package of the service operation plays an important role in determining the customer's overall satisfaction with, the service encounter, Mary Jo Bitner has introduced the expression servicescape t? describe the physical surroundings in which the service takes place." The servicescape ofan operation comprises three major elements:

(a) the ambient conditions,                  (b) tile spatial layout and functionality,I and              (c) the signs, symbols, and artifacts.