Steps involved in designing a plant layout

Since decisions regarding layout design have considerable impact in the efficiency and profitability of a firm it requires careful consideration. The following are the steps involved in designing a layout:

1. Collection of required data
Data about the size of the plant, type of products to be produced, method of production to be adopted, extent of space available, extent of mechanization etc. are to be collected.

2. Preparation of blueprint for the floor plan
Based on the data gathered, a blue print has to be prepared for the floor plan. Care should be taken to ensure, that the layout provides for unhindered movement of men and materials with minimum possible effort and time.

3. Preparation of process chart and flow diagram
The process chart and flow diagram depicting the various activities to be performed and the linkages between them has to be prepared.

4. Preparation of draft layout:
A draft layout needs to be prepared clearly depicting the positioning of men and materials and the process flow. The draft layout should be circulated and discussions held with employees inviting suggestions for improvement. Flaws pointed out need to be corrected and suggestions received incorporated after due discussions.

5. Test run:
A test run is important to understand the efficiency of the layout in a real time work environment. Problems not noticed in the earlier stages can occur at this stage. The initial problems noticed need to be modified and test runs should be continued for at-least a few
times to ensure that the layout is able to facilitate maximum production at minimum cost.

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