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Designing a manufacturing System through Lean Layouts and Cellular Manufacturing

By 14th November 2019 No Comments
Lean Layouts & Cellular Manufacturing

Traditionally, many conventional factory design had common manufacturing method of Job shop which is organised based on the concept where all similar operations are grouped and put in one room with a supervisor or a manager.   High batch size, high volume transportation, high need for storage space and aisles/pathways flooded with materials resulting safety compromise. Factory design in the form of Lean layout with cellular manufacturing concepts helps in improving productivity, reduction of Lead time, improves Quality and improves ontime performance.

As per new manufacturing  system design, cellular manufacturing concepts can have several types 

The following are some of the key objectives of Lean layout: 
  • Smooth flow of work
  • Machines in sequence with operations
  • Minimum Operator Inconvenience
  • Easy Material Handling
  • Elimination of unnecessary material movement
  • Space for storage of materials
  • Space for storage of tools close to the machine
  • Space for operator movement
  • Space for easy maintenance
  • Space for holding maintenance equipment
  • Parking space for manual trolleys, fork-lifts,
  • Trucks, Power Trolleys etc
  • Clear aisles for safe movement of trolleys.
  • Space for operators tool-kit, gauges, measuring instruments
  • Proper location of inspection facility

The following are the steps involved in creating Lean Layout from a running factory.  

Current Layout

  1. Draw current layout to the scale to create template for the entire plant.  This includes machines, storage places, gangways etc.
  2. Draw flow diagram on the layout to understand the material movement.
  3. List down the constraint in the existing layout like movement, storage space, critical machines etc.

New Layout

  1. Analyse possibility of creating cellular manufacturing concept.  Design of new layout depends on cellular manufacturing / non cellular manufacturing.
  2. Create block layout in the new available space allowing space for expansion.  Create at least two alternatives, discuss with management and select best one.
  3. Draw detailed layout showing gangways, WIP storage and all equipments. Remove constraints from the existing layout.

Show material movement from RM store to FG to understand the flow.

Factors influencing plant layout:

Material                :    Variety, Quantity, Operations, Sequence of operations

Machinery            : Equipment, Tools

Man Movement  : Operators, Supervisors, Inspectors, Services Staff Material handling methods, Clear space for movement & safety of personnel.

Storage                 : Storage  of In-Process & POU material

Services                : Power  Lines, Air Lines, Water Lines, Exhaust Lines, Inspections, Maintenance, Process Scrap, Tools  Storage, Other Special Requirements.

Layout Evaluation Checklist


  • Effectiveness of material flow
    1. Shortest  path for greater velocity
    2. Internal & external access
    3. WIP, throughput time
  • Layout flexibility
    1. Ease of arrangement
    2. Ease of adding replacing equipment

Fit with overall layout

  • Material Handling effectiveness
    1. Ease of arrangement
    2. Ease of adding replacing equipment
    3. Ease of material movement, distance travelled
  • Space utilization
      1. Density
      2. Configuration
  • Support service integration
    1. Tools & fixtures
    2. Ease of maintenance
    3. Information
    4. Utilities
    5. Human Resources
    6. Scheduling
    7. Quality
    8. suppliers
  • Supervision & Control
    1. Line of sight management
    2. Cell to cell communication
    3. Environmental factors
  • Working conditions
    1. Workstation access, 
    2. Ease of operator movement
    3. Access to amenities
    4. Environmental concerns
    5. Distance of operator movement
  • Ease of implementation
      1. Production interruption
      2. Sequence of timing
      3. Building alterations
      4. Utilities
      5. Access to riggers
      6. Multi operation (part or full nagare cell)
  • Cost of implementation
    1. building alterations
    2. Temporary moves
    3. Required overtime
    4. New equipment costs
Sl NoCriteriaWeight age

(scale 1~10) – Based on the requirement of the project

Plan 1Plan 2
1Ease of operator6
2Space (sq mtrs)4
3Ease of material movement8
4Length of travel7
6Ease of supervision6
8Throughput time9
9Multi operation7
10Ease of maintenance7
11Product flow5


Seven Steps Business Transformation is in the field of supporting organisations in their Journey of Excellence.  For manufacturing facilities, we support in designing lean layout in line with principles of value, continuous flow, pull system and help in mixed model – low volume and high mix production.

Seven Steps Business Transformation Systems is India based organisation helping organisations in their Journey of Excellence. We have consultants with wide experience in industry segments such as manufacturing, services, retail, logistics, food, construction, Information Technology, Education, Health care services. Our consultants are experts in deployment of Total Productive Maintenance, Lean manufacturing, lean services, Lean hospitals, Lean Health care, Lean Construction, Lean office.

We work with multiple industry sectors such as Automotives, Equipment manufacturing, defence products, pharmaceuticals, Aerospace components, high precision manufacturing, apparel to name a few.

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