Next Generation Factory Layouts (7)

Next Generation Factory Layouts (7) - Next Generation...

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Next Generation Factory Layouts: Research Challenges and Recent Progress Saif Benjaafar • Sunderesh S. Heragu • Shahrukh A. Irani Graduate Program in Industrial Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455 Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210 • This paper was refereed. Kecent trends in industry suggest that existing layout configurations do not meet the needs of multiproduct enterprises and that there is a need for a new generation of factory layouts that are flexible, modular, and easy to reconfigure. Although most of the academic literature on layout design is based on a deterministic paradigm that assumes production requirements are known far in advance or change very little over time, a growing body of research focuses on designing layouts for dynamic and uncertain environments. An example is the research being carried out by the newly formed Consortium on Next Generation Factory Layouts (NGFL). The consortium, which involves multiple universities and several companies, is de- veloping alternative layouts, new performance metrics, and new methods for designing flex- ible and reconfigurable factories. (Facilities-equipment planning: layout. Manufacturing: performance-productivity, strategy.) T here is an emerging consensus that existing lay- out configurations do not meet the needs of multi- product enterprises and there is a need for a new gen- eration of factory layouts that are more flexible, mod- ular, and easy to reconfigure (Askin et al 1997, Benjaafar and Sheikhzadeh 2000, Irani and Huang 2000, Kocliliar and Heragu 1999, Montreuil 1999, National Research Council 1998, Yang and Peters 1998). With in- creased flexibility, modularity, and reconfigurability, factories could avoid redesigning their layouts each time their production requirements changed. Creating new layouts can be expensive and disruptive, especially when factories must shut down. Because factories that operate in volatile environments or introduce new products regularly cannot afford frequent disruptions, plant managers often prefer to live with the inefficien- cies of existing layouts rather than suffer through costly redesigns, which may quickly become obsolete. In our work with over 20 companies in the last five years, we INTERFACES, © 2002 INFORMS Vol. 32, No. 6, November-December 2002, pp. 58-76 have encountered mounting frustration with existing layout choices, particularly in companies that offer many products with variable demand and short life cy- cles. These companies value layouts that retain their usefulness over many product mixes or can easily be reconfigured. Equally important are layouts that permit shorter lead times, lower inventories, and a greater de- gree of product customization. Conventional layouts, such as product, process, and
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This note was uploaded on 03/28/2011 for the course MGMT 610 taught by Professor Bobb during the Spring '11 term at New York Institute of Technology-Westbury.

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Next Generation Factory Layouts (7) - Next Generation...

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