Plant layout is a floor plan for deciding and orchestrating the chosen equipment and machinery of garment industry in the best suitable location to permit the quicker flow of materials at a minimum cost and with the least amount of material handling during the manufacturing process from the receipt of raw materials to the shipment of the finished garments. Plant layout is the arrangement and configuration of departments, work stations, machinery and equipment used in the conversion process. A proper plant layout is directly associated with good workflow, right from material receiving till the finished goods go out of the factory.
An efficient plant layout has the flexibility to be changed to meet requirements of the product line, delivery schedules, and anticipated volume. Safety is a major consideration in garment plant layout. Fire and safety codes, emergency and accessible exits, open traffic areas, etc. must all be a part of layout plans in garment industry.
Principles of Plant Layout in Garment Industry:
The following principles have to be followed to have an ideal plant layout for garment industry. The understanding of these principles would help in learning the aspects that are influencing the plant layout in garment industry.
1. Principle of Minimum Travel:
Workers and materials must pass through the shortest distance between the processes to avoid wastage of labor and time and reduce the cost of materials handling. This is mainly important for garment industries where each department is interconnected and the movement of the labor from one department to another must be minimized for increased productivity.
2. Principle of Sequence:
Machineries as well as processes should be arranged in a sequential order which is achieved in the product layout. It contains the arrangement of the working area for each operation in the same order. For a proper flow of materials, the plant layout must offer easy movement of raw materials to the production department and to the packing department. The plant layout, following the principle of sequence, needs to consider the frequency of movement between the different departments, volume of production in each department, total working area available in each department and the nature of operations in each department.
3. Principle of Usage:
Every foot of existing space should be effectively utilized. It includes the proper usage of space both horizontally and vertically. Apart from using the floor space of a room, if the ceiling height is also utilized, more material can be stored in the same room. Use of overhead space saves a lot of floor space.
4. Principle of Compactness:
There should be harmonious fusion of all the related factors so that the final layout looks well integrated and compact.
5. Principle of Safety and Satisfaction:
This layout has built in options for workers to ensure they are safeguarded from the occurrence of fire. The comfort and convenience of the worker has been considered more important while planning this layout. In a garment production unit, factors such as proper lighting, ventilation and prevention of hazardous conditions are very important. Employees must be protected from excessive heat, dust from the raw materials such as fabrics and the trimmings of the threads in sewing, glare and fumes. The safety of workers both during operation, maintenance and transportation of materials should be taken care of.
6. Principle of Flexibility:
The layout must allow modifications with minimum complications and at minimum cost.
Influencing Factors of Plant Layout in Garment Industry:
The plant layout changes from industry to industry, location to location and plant to plant. The plant layout is influenced by the 3M’s, namely materials, machinery and men.
It is the important aspect that influences the plant layout. For any industry there is a need to offer a proper storage and movement of raw materials, which are necessary for the production of a product, until they are transformed into finished products. It is a common principle that every industry procures the raw materials economically when they are available. This creates the need for appropriate storage so that the goods are moved according to the requirement through production departments.
While outlining the design it is imperative to consider the type, position and prerequisites of workers. Worker facilities, for example, wellbeing and related services, locker rooms and public facilities influence the design. Employee safety ought to additionally be considered.
The machinery required is reliant on the type of product, quantity of production, the type of process and management policy. These decide the size and type of the machinery to be installed which, in turn, influences the plant layout.
Production is the combination of men, materials and machines. The ratio in which these elements are used depends on their costs and on the production processes selected. Before laying out a plant, it is necessary to determine which of these elements are to be stationary and which will be moving during the selection process. The plant layout must offer the space for storage of fuel, be it coal, oil or gas.
A layout is generally designed with the objective of manufacturing a product. Whether the product is light or heavy, small or big, its arrangement related to the plant location affects the plant layout. The quantity of production, quality of product, size of machinery and space requirement for a machine and other facilities are based on the sales demand and plant layout. A product with relatively inelastic demand should be produced on a mass scale with less specialized equipment.
5. Management Policies:
Management policies also influence plant layout. Some of the managerial policies are
- The volume of production and provision for expansion
- The extent of automation
- Making or buying a particular component
- Desire of rapid delivery of goods to the customers
- Purchase policy
- Personnel policies
Types of Plant Layout:
A layout alludes to the organizing and grouping of machines which are intended for production of materials. Grouping is done on diverse lines. The factors influencing the selection of a proper layout of machines for a particular style of garment relies on several factors as given below.
1. Process Layout:
It includes grouping of similar machines in a particular department. The process arrangement is meant by the grouping together of similar machines based upon their uniqueness. A volume of raw material is allotted to a particular machine which accomplishes the first operation. This machine could be arranged at anyplace in the industry. For performing the next operation, a different machine could be necessary, which may be situated in another place of the industry.
For carrying out the production process, the material must be transported to the other equipments. This kind of layout is appropriate for the intermittent kind rather than continuous type of production. While grouping machines based on the type of process, the following points must be considered.
- The distance between the departments must be as small as possible to minimize the material movement.
- The machines that are similar are grouped in one section/department.
- It must be convenient for supervision and inspection.
- Investments on machines are reduced as they are general purpose machines.
- There is greater flexibility in the production.
- Better supervision is achievable through specialization.
- This layout provides better use of men and machines.
- It is easier to handle any breakdown of machines through taking the machine to another machine station.
- The investment costs on machines are comparatively lower.
- Movement of materials is difficult.
- Requires more floor space.
- Since the work-in-progress has to move from one place to another to look for a machine, the production time is generally high.
- The WIP accumulates at different places.
2. Product Layout:
In this kind of layout, the machines are generally arranged in a series based on the process sequence required for manufacturing the garment. In this layout, the process starts at one side of the line and the assembled product is delivered at another side of the line. In between, partly finished goods move automatically or manually from one machine to another. The output of one machine becomes the input of the next machine.
- Materials handling is automated, hence reduction in materials handling cost.
- Bottlenecks in production line could be avoided.
- Lesser manufacturing time.
- The layout helps in better production control.
- It necessitates less floor space per unit of production.
- WIP is reduced and investment thereon is minimized.
- Expensive and inflexible layout.
- Supervision is difficult.
- Expansion is difficult.
- Breakdown of any machinery in a line could disturb the whole system.
3. Fixed Position Layout:
In this kind of layout, the product remains stationary in a fixed location, where men and machine have to move toward it which is desirable as the cost of moving them is lower than the cost of moving the product.
- Men and machines can be utilized for numerous kinds of operations manufacturing different products.
- The investment on layout is less.
- The costs of transportation for a bulky product are avoided.
4. Cellular Manufacturing (CM) Layout:
In this kind of layout, the machines are generally assembled into cells which function fairly like a product layout within a process layout. Every cell in this design is shaped to produce single parts, all with common attributes, which typically means they necessitate the same machines and have similar machine settings.
- Lower WIP inventories.
- Reduced material handling costs.
- Flow time of materials is less in production planning.
- Improved visual control of process which enables quicker set ups.
- Manufacturing flexibility.
- Reduced machine stoppage time.
- Spare equipment could be necessary so that parts need not be transported between cells.
5. Combined Layout:
It is a mixture of the product and process layouts, which could be observed in many of the apparel units. Each process is situated as a single unit and a number of such units is arranged in a product layout. It is feasible to have both types of layout in a capably combined form if the products manufactured are fairly similar and not complex.
6. Service Facility Layout:
The major distinction between the service facility and manufacturing facility layouts is that many service facilities exist to bring collectively customers and services together. Some of the requirements of service facility layouts are large, well organized and amply lighted parking areas and well-designed walkways to and from parking areas.
7. Classification of Layout Based on Flow of Material:
The layout can also be classified based on the flow of the materials as follows:
- Linear: The sewing area is in the middle of the floor with cutting and finishing areas on either end of the sewing line.
- U-shaped: This layout is suited where supply of materials and reciept of finished goods are done through the same place. Parts production stations may be placed inside the U. The same workers can therefore handle both supplying materials and taking the finished goods away from the line. It is therefore easier to supply materials at the same rate finished goods come off the line, and thus maintain a constant number of goods in progress.
- Comb-shaped: Achieved by combining plural linear lines, each of the part’s lines is also linear and the parts lines are connected to the main line at the point where the parts are needed.
- Block: Plural units are combined to form individual blocks, each of which comprises the required sewing machines. This format is suited to organization by production groups or to semipermanent layouts for small lot production lines where the goods being produced change frequently.
Factors for Planning Plant Layout in Garment Industry:
The following factors should be taken into consideration while planning a plant layout:
- Minimization of manufacturing cost,
- Feeding the materials and parts at highest possible speed and in one direction without any backtracking or overlapping flow of products,
- Minimization of work transfer among the processes from acceptance of raw materials till delivery of finished product with properly defined spaces for each process, and
- Provision of future expansion plans.
The plant layout planning should be done based on factory site selection and arrangement of building and machines.
Plant layout in garment industry involves arranging machinery, workstations, equipment, and other resources in a manner that ensures smooth material flow, minimizes bottlenecks, and facilitates effective communication and coordination among workers. In the garment industry, an efficient plant layout plays a crucial role in optimizing productivity, workflow, and overall operational efficiency. For effective plant layout for garment industry should consult with industrial engineers, production managers, or layout design experts.
- Apparel Manufacturing Technology by T. Karthik, P. Ganesan, D. Gopalakrishnan
Industrial Engineering in Apparel Production By V. Ramesh Babu
- Garment Manufacturing Technology Edited by Rajkishore Nayak and Rajiv Padhye
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