Designing Product Layouts: Steps & Tools

Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

Before a company can jump right into production, they need to decide how they will design the production floor. In this lesson, we will learn one of the ways to do this, known as product layout.

Looking at Product Layout

Sammy owns his own business where he makes toys. Each toy has special pieces where special machines are needed to not only make those pieces but to assemble them into a finished product. Because of an increase in demand, Sammy has decided to purchase a bigger warehouse. But before he can move his machines into the new warehouse, he needs to decide how the machines will be positioned. In this lesson, we will learn about one option known as product layout that focuses on making production easier for each product. Come along as Sammy explores this option more in depth.

Product Layout Defined

Because Sammy produces only a few different types of toys, he has decided the best layout for his new warehouse is that of product layout. Product layout is a design that positions workstations together based on the product they make.

Machines are laid out sequentially so products can transfer from one station to the next in order until they are finished. Thus, for Sammy, each workstation will complete a toy from start to finish and each of his toys will have their own workstation.

Steps for Product Layout

Now that Sammy has decided on the type of layout, he will need to walk through a few basic steps to ensure successful production.

1. Understand the order- Before Sammy can bring in his machines he needs to understand what processes are involved in making each toy and the order they go in. In other words, he needs to know how to make each toy.

2. Understand output- In this step, Sammy will need to determine how many toys he wants to make and the timeframe in which to make them.

3. Understand timing- This is how long is each toy is allowed to stay at each machine or station. Sammy needs to determine how quickly the toys need to progress through production.

4. Determine workstations- How many workstations will Sammy have? The least amount of machines needed is best because it cuts down on costs and decreases the amount of time for a product to be completed.

Tools for Product Layout

Sammy knows what type of layout he will use and the steps he needs to take to complete the design, but there are still some other important concepts to consider when finalizing the design. Think of these concepts as tools because they help build a better design.

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