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Developing A Manufacturing Plant Layout Utilizing Best In Class Concepts Of Lean Manufacturing And Theory Of Constraints Of Optimal Macro Flow

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma in Manufacturing Education 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.386.1 - 13.386.12



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Paper Authors

author page

Merwan Mehta East Carolina University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Developing a Manufacturing Plant Layout Utilizing Best-in-class Concepts of Lean Manufacturing and Theory of Constraints of Optimal Macro-Flow


Developing a plant layout for a manufacturing facility is a project that utilizes a combination of art and science. Although creating plant layouts has been an activity that has been performed by manufacturing and industrial engineers for decades, there is no one set formula or method that will ensure achieving the best possible optimum outcome.

Many manufacturing companies are striving to adopt lean production techniques that eliminate waste to enhance flow of products through their production facilities. Tools utilized to implement lean production techniques include: kanban, supermarkets, first-in first-out (FIFO) lanes, pacemaker processes, management time frames, etc. Numerous companies are also implementing theory of constraints (TOC), which is a management philosophy to meet customer demand through synchronized production, to enhance flow of products to generate money for the corporation at an expedited rate. TOC utilizes tools like drum-buffer-rope (DBR), throughput accounting, and constraint management to achieve this.

Although, companies are striving to implement lean manufacturing and TOC trough the implementation of the above mentioned tools, they miss out on implementing an optimized macro-flow in their facilities. Macro-flow is the optimization of the entire flow within the facilities of a company, which allows them to avoid sub-optimization within narrow departments or functional areas. Lean manufacturing and TOC stress the importance of maintaining a consistent macro-flow within the entire manufacturing facility for products, to achieve the highest impact in improving the productivity and profitability of a manufacturing plant.

For creating the most optimum macro-flow within a facility, dimensionless block diagrams have been used by plant layout engineers. However, the way these dimensionless block diagrams are created and implemented have a lot of subjectivity built into them. This paper suggests an objective means using weightages to create the dimensionless block diagram to reduce the substantial subjectivity that creeps into the creation of the dimensionless block diagrams. With the proposed method, facility planners will be better able to optimize the macro-flow in a manufacturing facility as necessitated by lean manufacturing and TOC principles.

Plant Layout as Practiced Today

Industries have attempted to create efficient plant layouts since the dawn of industrialization, and many methods have been utilized by industrial, production, and manufacturing engineers to come up with the most efficient plant layout. However, there is not a set methodology that can be repetitively applied to all plant layout exercises so that they turn out as the most efficient plant layout. In this sense, creating of plant layouts is more of an art than a science1,2,3.

Mehta, M. (2008, June), Developing A Manufacturing Plant Layout Utilizing Best In Class Concepts Of Lean Manufacturing And Theory Of Constraints Of Optimal Macro Flow Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3485

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