Operations Management / Supply Chain Management

Module 08: Layout Strategies

In the previous Module we explored the various strategies and choices regarding Location of a firm or operation.  In this Module we will focus on the Layout design for different types of operations.
The objective of layout strategy is to develop an effective and efficient layout that will meet the firm’s competitive requirements.   Some key design considerations include:
  • Higher utilization of space, equipment, and people
  • Improved flow of information, materials, or people
  • Improved employee morale and safer working conditions
  • Improved customer/client interaction
  • Flexibility

The text authors provide examples and recommendations for various types of facilities:

  • Office layout
  • Retail layout
  • Warehouse layout
  • Fixed-position layout
  • Process-oriented layout
  • Work-cell layout
  • Product-oriented layout
Each one of these has specific relevance to different product / service operations – dependent on the unique objectives, characteristics and processes involved.
An Office Layout is designed to position workers, their equipment, and spaces/offices to provide for movement of information.
A Retail Layout is designed to allocates shelf space and responds to customer behavior.
A Warehouse Layout is designed to address trade-offs between space and material handling.
A Fixed-Position Layout is designed to handle requirements of large, bulky projects such as ships and buildings.
A Process-Oriented Layout is designed to meet requirements of low-volume, high-variety production (also called job shop or intermittent production).
A Work Cell Layout is designed to arranges machinery and equipment to focus on production of a single product or group of related products.
A Product-Oriented Layout is designed to provide the best personnel and machine utilization in repetitive or continuous production.
Typical Objectives and some specific examples are provided in the following tables. In general, effective layouts consider: material handling equipment; capacity and space requirements; environment and aesthetics; flows of information; and cost of moving between various work areas.