Here production or service for any one job is carried

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intermittent processing. Here production or service for any one job is carried on intermently, not continuously. There is a high mix of products which use the facility, and portions of the process may be in operation several times during the day or only occasionally during the month. Usually the relatively low demand for each product or service does not warrant the high investment in a continuous process. Typical of intermittent processes are job shops, emergency rooms in hospitals, hospital laboratories, most office work, many educational processes, and most services. The predominant plant layout that one expects in intermittent processing is a process layout. In a process layout, machines or services of the same category are grouped together. We therefore find lathes, milling machines, inspection stations, and so on, in one location. A characteristic of the process layout is that the particular sequence of operations that one job follows is seldom repeated by other jobs flowing through the process. For example, the sequence from admittance to discharge in a hospital is seldom the same from one patient to the next. A patient may or may not have X-rays, may or may not have surgery, may or may not undergo physical therapy, etc. Consequently the work flow is not nearly as predictable as in the continuous-process case, and we therefore find variable-path equipment, such as forklift trucks, employed in processes of this type. The criteria used to make the choice between these two layouts include investment costs, material handling costs, direct labour costs, space requirements, equipment flexibility in meeting changes in output quantity, system reliability and
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67 maintenance costs. These economic and non- economic factors must, in turn, be weighed before making the final decision. 5.3.7 PROCESS DESIGN : MICRO In the next stage attention shifts to the details that make up the work at each station. Concern is with the operational content and operational method. The task Operational content focuses on the appropriate combination of steps that should be assigned to a work station. Operational method, on the other hand, is concerned with the efficient execution of those steps. 5.3.8 PLANT-PLANNING SYSTEM If a new plant will be built, then process planning proceeds in a relatively constraint-free setting. If, however, the process must be installed in existing plant, then a set of special constraints must be observed. Therefore, the process planning system must interact with the plant-planning system to ensure feasible layouts. 5.3.9 PROCESS DESIGN AS AN ON GOING ACTIVITY Process design is not strictly limited to new design. Whenever the costs of inputs change by a substantial amount, or whenever output levels or quality objectives change, process review should be initiated. If the reason for the reexamination is a price change in an input factor, then a new input mix reflecting the different price ratio of the substitute inputs may be desirable. For example, if wage rates increase substantially as a result of a new labour contract, it might be
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