Chapter 4 How Production Processes are Organized
1. Process Selection refers to the strategic decision of selecting which kind of production
processes to use to produce a product or provide a service. For example,
- If the volume is very low, we may just have a worker manually assemble each computer
- In contrast, if the volume is higher, setting up an assembly line is appropriate,
2. The formats by which a facility is arranged are defined by the general pattern of work flow;
there are five basic structures: project, workcenter, manufacturing cell, assembly line,
and continuous process.
1) In a Product Layout, the product (by virtue of its bulk or weight) remains in a fixed
location. Manufacturing equipment is moved to the product rather than vice versa.
Example: construction sites (houses and roads) and movie shooting lots.
2) A Workcenter is where similar equipment or functions are grouped together, such as all
drilling machines in one area and all stamping machines in another.
- This type of layout sometimes is referred to as a job shop.
3) A Manufacturing Cell is a dedicated area where products that are similar in processing
requirements are produced.
- These cells are designed to perform a specific set of process
- The cells are dedicated to a limited range of products.
- A firm may have many different cells in a production area, each set up to produce a
single product or a similar group of products efficiently.
- These cells typically are scheduled to produce “as needed” in response to current
4) An Assembly Line is where work processes are arranged according to the progressive
steps by which the product is made.
- The path for each part is, in effect, a straightline.
- Discrete parts are made by moving from workstation to workstation at a controlled
rate. Following the sequence need to build the product.
- Examples: the assembly of toys, appliance, and automobiles.
5) A Continuous Process is similar to an assembly line in that production follows a
predetermined sequence of stops, but the flow is continuous rather than discrete.
- Such structures are usually highly automated and, in effect, constitute one integrated
“machine” that may operate 24 hours a day to avoid expensive shutdowns and start-
- Examples: conversion and processing of undifferentiated materials such as
petroleum, chemicals, and drugs
6) The relationship between layout structures is often depi