The layout should be designed in a manner that the twin objectives of improving efficiency and reduction of costs are achieved. It should minimize movement of man and machine. Smooth operation of the manufacturing process should be facilitated and work in process inventory reduced.
A layout with the following characteristics would be able to fulfill the above mentioned requirements:
Top 10 Characteristics or features of a good layout
1. Efficient space utilization: Real estate costs are rising by the day. An ideal layout should utilize the available space in an effective way. Wastage of space should be avoided at all costs. The arrangement of equipment, service points and workers should be done in such a way that space is properly utilized.
2. Flexibility: Manufacturing operations are dynamic in nature. There is continuous innovation in types of products manufactured as well as in equipment, techniques and processes of production. Therefore the layout should be designed in such a way that the layout is flexible enough to adapt to changes.
3. Accessibility: Manufacturing, maintenance and servicing facilities should be easily accessible without any hindrance. To achieve this purpose, there must be sufficient space between equipment so that raw materials, machines and men are able to move freely from one place to another.
4. Economy in handling: The layout should facilitate economies in handling materials, work-in-progress and finished stock. Handling should be reduced by the optimal use of hoists, chutes, trucks lifts, conveyors etc.
5. Minimum movement: The layout should be so designed that there is, minimum movement of men and machines. Movements should be direct as far as possible. Indirect handling of materials would unnecessarily add to the cost without any value addition. Therefore indirect handling should be avoided as far as possible.
6. Ensuring Co-ordination: A good layout would be able to co-ordinate all operations. The layout should be designed taking into account the inter-relationships between various equipment, departments and personnel. It is therefore important that while planning the layout the complete picture of the organization is considered.
7. Visibility: Work should be arranged in such a way that there is no problem in supervision, co-ordination and control. Raw materials, work in progress and finished goods should have specific storage points and must be visible at all times. This would reduce the problem of pilferage, theft etc.
8. Reduced discomfort: The layout should be designed in a way that there is minimum discomfort to the workers. It should provide for proper lighting, ventilation and reduce the impact of heat, noise, vibrations, dust, fumes, odours etc.
9. Adherence to statutory regulations: The layout should adhere to the regulations of the Factories Act with regard to health, safety and welfare of employees. Adherence to the above regulations would minimize accidents, reduce absenteeism due to sickness contributing to improved productivity.
10. Preservation of materials and equipment: The layout should contain safeguards against fire, moisture, theft and general deterioration of equipment and materials. There should be adequate and safe storage locations. There should be provision for storing inflammable materials separately and in a safe manner.