Process Layout - Process Design
This form of layout is used when there is no dominant flow pattern, and is particularly appropriate for job shop and small-batch operations. This figure is a schematic representation of a process layout, showing three (of many) job process sequences. By bringing similar process types together in departments, the advantages of flexibility and concentration of process expertise are gained.
The disadvantages are: long delivery times, high levels of materials handling and transport; relatively high levels of work-in-progress inventory, low equipment utilisation and consequent high unit costs. Scheduling of many jobs with different process routes through a process layout, and monitoring their progress, are among the most challenging tasks for operations managers. Many service operations adopt the process layout, but, instead of material movements, customers move from department to department; common examples include supermarkets, department stores, museums, art galleries and libraries.