Plant Layout: Objective of Good Layout23/02/2020
After deciding above the proper site for locating an industrial unit, next important point to be considered by an entrepreneur is to decide about the appropriate layout for the plant. Plant layout is primarily concerned with the internal set up of an enterprise in a proper manner.
It is concerned with the orderly and proper arrangement and use of available resources viz., men, money, machines, materials and methods of production inside the factory. A well designed plant layout is concerned with maximum and effective utilization of available resources at minimum operating costs.
The concept of plant layout is not static but dynamic one. It is on account of continuous manufacturing and technological improvements taking place necessitating quick and immediate changes in production processes and designs. A new layout may be necessary because of technological changes in the products as well as simple change in processes, machines, methods and materials”.
A new layout also becomes necessary when the existing layout becomes ineffective and poor or is not conducive to the changed circumstances. There are certain indications which raise alarm for immediate changes in the existing layout of plant.
These indications may be in the form of excessive manufacturing time, improper storage, lack of control over materials and employees, poor customer service, excessive work in progress and work stoppages etc.
Objectives of Good Plant layout
A properly planned plant layout aims at achieving the following objectives:
(i) To achieve economies in handling of raw materials, work in- progress and finished goods.
(ii) To reduce the quantum of work-in-progress.
(iii) To have most effective and optimum utilization of available floor space.
(iv) To minimize bottlenecks and obstacles in various production processes thereby avoiding the accumulation of work at important points.
(v) To introduce system of production control.
(vi) To ensure means of safety and provision of amenities to the workers.
(vii) To provide better quality products at lesser costs to the consumers.
(viii) To ensure loyalty of workers and improving their morale.
(ix) To minimize the possibility of accidents.
(x) To provide for adequate storage and packing facilities.
(xi) To workout possibilities of future expansion of the plant.
(xii) To provide such a layout which permits meeting of competitive costs?
The objectives of plant layout have been nicely explained by Shubin and Madeheim. “Its objective is to combine labour with the physical properties of a plant (machinery, plant services, and handling equipment) in such a manner that the greatest output of high quality goods and services, manufactured at the lowest unit cost of production and distribution, will result.”
Principles of a Good Plant Layout
- Overall integration of factors
A good layout is one that integrates men, materials, machines and supporting activities and others in a way that the best compromise is obtained. No layout can satisfy each and every principle of a good layout. Some criterion may conflict with some other criterion and as a result no layout can be ideal it has to integrate all factors into the best possible compromise.
- Minimum movement
A good layout is one that permits the minimum movement between the operations. The plant and machinery in case of product layout and departments in case of process layout should be arranged as per sequence of operations of most of the products.
- Since straight line is the shortest distance between any two points, men and materials as far as possible should be made to move along the straight path
- A door may be made in a wall or a hole may be drilled in a ceiling if that eliminates or reduces material handling in place of stairs or a distant door.
- Uni-direction flow
A good layout is one that makes the materials move only in the forward direction, towards stage of completion, with any backtracking.
- Since straight line is the shortest distance between any two, points, materials as far as possible should be made to move on the principle of straight-line flow. And when straight line flow is not possible, other flows like U-shaped flow, circular flow or zig zag flow may be adopted, but the layout may ensure that materials move in the forward direction.
- To ensure forward flow, equipment if necessary may be duplicated.
- Effective use of available space
A good layout is one that makes effective use of available space both horizontal and vertical.
- Backtracking and duplicated movements consume more time, involve un-necessary materials handling, add to cost and lead to inefficiency.
- Raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods should be piled vertically one above another rather than being strewn on the floor.
- Pallets or equivalents should be made use of to pile up several layers one above another.
- Area below the work tables or in the cupboards built into the wall are welcome since they reduce requirement of space.
- Maximum visibility
A good layout is one that makes men, machines and materials ready observable at all times.
- All departments should be smoothly integrated, convenient to service and easy to supervise.
- Every piece of positioning or screening or partitioning should be scrutinized and carefully planned.
- Special cupboards, enclosures, offices, partitions etc. should be avoided except when their utility is established beyond doubt.
- Maximum accessibility
A good layout is one that makes all servicing and maintenance point readily accessible.
- Machines should be kept sufficiently apart and with reasonable clearance from the wall so that lubrication, adjustment and replacement of belts, removal of parts at the time of repairs etc can be done conveniently by the maintenance staff.
- Area in front of electrical panels and fire extinguishers should be kept free from obstructions.