process-focused layouta FACTORY LAYOUT in which all PRODUCTION operations of a similar nature are grouped together in the same department or part of the factory. For example, separate areas may exist for drilling operations, milling, grinding, assembly and so on (see Fig. 64). Process layout is appropriate where small quantities of a large range of products are to be manufactured, as for example in BATCH PRODUCTION or jobbing production. The nature of the layout permits flexibility in production, i.e. complex products, requiring processing in most of the functional departments, may be made alongside simple products requiring processing in only a few departments. This same flexibility, however, brings disadvantages, since batch production in process layouts necessitates frequent machine resetting; it normally operates with a comparatively high level of work in progress; and through-put time is high. Specialist supervision is possible, and the grouping of operatives of a similar type and skill within the same department promotes cohesiveness and enables individual incentive payment schemes to be used. The provision of services (for example water, power, removal of scrap) is simpler than in other forms of layout, but the cost of materials handling is high. See PRODUCT-FOCUSED LAYOUT, SETUP COST, SETUP TIME. See also CELLULAR MANUFACTURING.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson