Cellular Manufacturing (CM) represents a rewarding strategy, finding its application in a variety of manufacturing environments. A key element in exploiting the benefits of CM is efficient layout designs. A poor physical layout may negate some or all of the benefits expected from CM.
This paper presents the application of recent proposed methods by the author to a dynamic food products and packaging company in Australia. The large volume of shop floor material movements, confusion over production planning, losing customers due to long lead times and high overheads were among the problems expressed by the company because of poor shop floor layout. Furthermore the company was deeply concerned about the increasing number of accidents and injuries on the shop floor caused by poor layout of machinery and the lack of proper aisles for movement of the lift-trucks.
This paper shows that unlike many existing layout models, the travelling cost is not the only major dominant force in generating the layout designs. This paper presents the process of developing the final inter-cell layout designs by providing the management with multiple layout configurations and showing the impact of each design on the material handling cost at each stage. These solutions not only provide a safer shop floor but also significant reductions in material handling cost, waste, need for large capital investment and the number of lift-trucks needed on the shop floor.