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.