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The four types of plant layouts are line layout, functional layout, location layout and group layout.
This layout is also called product layout and requires equipments to be positioned in one line in the sequence of activities needed for the products. Raw materials are fed into the first machine and moved to the next workstation in a linear motion without deviating from the sequence until the finished goods are obtained in the last machine. This type of layout is fast and cost effective as there is no interruption or congestion (Gupta & Khanka, 2003).
This layout involves grouping equipments that perform related tasks in one area thus forming various departments. For example, drilling, milling, painting and heating can form different departments and thus the respective machines performing each task are grouped together. However, the departments must be close to each other and operate in sequence. It requires lower capital and all machines are fully utilized as one machine can be assigned several products. Even if one machine breaks, the rest continue performing their tasks (Benjaafar & Sheikhzadeh, 2000).
This layout requires arrangement of the major products in one place and moving the labour and equipments to the location. The work centre is one and surrounded by all the facilities involved. The layout is best for large-scale entrepreneurs because it saves time and cost of transporting labour and goods from one work centre to another (Bhide, 2000).
Group layout combines intermittent process, functional process and the representative process into one. The layout is best for plants that produce products in masses at once without continuity. Group layout is a combination of plant layouts where the industry develops parts and assembles them in one station (Gupta & Khanka, 2003).
Benjaafar, S. & Sheikhzadeh, M. (2000). Design of ﬂexible plant layouts. IIE Transactions, 32(4), 309-322.
Bhide, A. (2000). The origin and evolution of new business. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gupta, C., & Khanka, S. (2003). Entrepreneurship and small business management. Delhi: Sultan Chand and Sons.