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managerial issues 

Managers need to take many factors into consideration when determining which type of facility layout is most appropriate for their operations. This applies to both manufacturing and service operations alike. Product-oriented layouts like assembly lines, as we shall see, are highly efficient but tend to be very inflexible. Process-oriented layouts, on the other and are very flexible, in terms of the wide variety of products that can be made, but, as we saw at TACO in the opening vignette, they typically have significant work-in process inventories are relatively inefficient and slow. The choice of which type of layout to adopt cannot be made lightly because it can Significantly impact a company's long-term success both in terms of product costs and its ability to compete successfully in the marketplace. In addition, the investment costs that are associated with installing a particular layout, in terms of time and money, are substantial. The manager's goal in selecting a layout is to provide a smooth flow of material through the factory, or an uncomplicated traffic pattern for both customers and workers in a service operation. Today, there are many software packages available to assist managers in designing a layout that is both efficient and effective, as illustrated in the OM in Practice box.

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