Computation Section
Subunit Facility Layout
 - Creating a New Layout
To create a new layout, select the New Layout Option from the Facility Layout menu. The dialog box below is presented. Provide the Name of the project, the number of departments, number of fixed points and the distance measure. When the Make Random Problem box is checked, random interdepartmental flows are provided. We will discuss the purpose of the fixed point parameter on a later page.

Pressing OK results in the Layout Data worksheet shown below. The data for the example is already filled in. The user should enter the facility length and width measured in the specified distance measure (meters in this case). The distance measure is converted into cells using the scale factor. The program limits the maximum facility dimensions to 50 cells wide by 100 cells long. When one of the specified plant dimension exceeds the limit, a scale factor greater than 1 must be entered to convert the distance measure to a cell measure. A scale factor greater than 1 reduces the size of the facility and results in quicker solution times.

Generally, cells colored yellow should not be changed. They contain either formulas or quantities fixed by the program. The name defining the problem is reflected in the worksheet name and the named ranges on the worksheet so the name in cell B2 should not be changed. The number of departments is also fixed. The data cells with white backgrounds can be changed.


The department data is entered below row 16 of the worksheet. Column B holds the names of the departments. Column C holds the letters F or V. The letter F (fixed) means the department is fixed in location or sequence, and the letter V (variable) means the department location or sequence may be varied in the search for the optimum. Column D holds the department area expressed in square meters for the example. Column E holds the area expressed in cells. Since the example uses a scale factor of 1, the two measures are the same.

Departments labeled with an F in column C are fixed in sequence or location depending on the solution method chosen. For the Sequence solution method, fixed departments retain their index provided in the Initial Sequence. Their locations may vary for different sequences when the variable departments have different areas. For the Traditional solution method, fixed departments retain their locations provided in the Initial Layout.

The flow data is placed below the department data. This matrix is commonly called the From-To Matrix. A cell (i, j) holds the flow from department i to department j. The example flows were randomly generated by the program.

Below the flow data, a matrix is provided to hold the material handling costs between departments. The default entries are 1 to indicate that all interdepartmental flows have the same cost, but these numbers can be changed to reflect different handling equipment, lot sizes and other factors.

When the data is ready, the button at the top of the page creates a second worksheet that holds the actual facility layout. Click the squirrel below or the menu item at the left to move to the description of that worksheet.

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Operations Management / Industrial Engineering
by Paul A. Jensen
Copyright 2004 - All rights reserved