Connected Flow and Disconnected Flow System
Such systems deliver very low unit costs, they are vulnerable; because of the absence of work-in-progress buffers, if one process fails, and very quickly the whole line comes to a halt. In addition, such systems require automatic process control measures to be incorporated, to ensure that large quantities of scrap are not produced very quickly.
Since only a single product type is produced, scheduling of such a system does not arise; the challenge for the operations manager is to balance the level of output with the anticipated level of customer demand. When an imbalance occurs it is often reported in the business press; for example, computer components, such as memory chips, seem to be in a perpetual flux of over-supply and shortage. Applications of product layout are less common in service operations, but the following display some of its characteristics: self-service cafeteria, student registration, automatic mail sorting, and certain hospital diagnostic procedures.