Small Business Management Notes - Plant Location and Plant Layout | B.Com Notes

Small Business Management Notes
Plant Location and Layout
B.Com Notes

Plant location and factors affecting plant location

A good location of a production or service facility will give cost advantage to production or services and may also reduce the raw material and distribution costs. The location aspect is particularly advantageous to small business enterprises and service units. Location adds to competitive advantages and improved profits. Usually location question arises when:
(1) a new plant or service facility is planned
(2) there is addition to the existing business or added capacities in the other regions
(3) existing facilities are to be relocated or modified to remove drawback
(4) to get advantage of better infrastructure or incentives from the government sources.
Location of organization plant or service facilities is a permanent fixture and has considerable expenditure. The selection has to be done considering all relevant aspects. If there is any mistake or wrong choice of location, all the expenditure in the form of site development, factory construction, installation of machinery and other infrastructure development will go waste. The location selection has three main issues:
(i) Selection of the region: It is imperative to produce near the raw material base or customer to meet set competition, trade agreement and transport costs.
(ii) Selection of locality: The choices are the rural place, the urban place or suburban area near the metro. The selection usually boils down to developed industrial area or having government sponsored advantages.

(iii) Selection of site: Advantages of low labour cost, low land cost, infrastructure or transport facilities chosen. After the selection of location of manufacturing or services, the next important activity is facilities layout. The arrangement of various departments, machines in the building and plant services is to be done in order to get the maximum efficiency by the optimum usage of resources. The type of production equipment and product characteristics are to be considered while evolving a good factory layout. A factory layout means location of different departments, like foundry, forging, machine shop, tool room, administration, maintenance shop whereas a plant layout means the location sequence or arrangement of machines and equipments in a department.

Factors affecting plant location

Selection of proper location is very important for the success of any business. Plant location is considered as the function of determining where the plant should be located for maximum operating economy and effectiveness. Manufacturing and service companies make location decisions based on many criteria. Following are the factors that should be considered for location of an industry or service unit:
(1) Primary Factors :
a) Nearness to customers 
b) Near raw materials
c) Supply of capital
d) Logistic facilities and infrastructure 
e) Skilled labour availability 
f) Power supply
g) Business climate 
(2) Secondary Factors :
a) Host community and political factors 
b) Natural factors
c) Historical factors 
d) Initial start and living conditions 
e) Personal factors 
f) Government policies
g) Environmental considerations 
h) International factors
Primary Factors:
(a) Nearness to Customers: Nearness to customer helps a plant to incorporate customer needs into the products being made in the unit. Finished goods to customers can reach faster and in less cost. There is less chance of breakage or damage during transportation.
(b) Nearness to raw materials: Cost of raw material input is a large cost in case of manufactured goods. The time & cost of transporting raw material is less if the plant is located near the source of raw material. For example, thermal power plants are located near to the coal mines.
(c ) Supply of capital: Short term and long term funds are required for any manufacturing or service industry. A company decides to locate its plant in such a location where fund movement is hassle free.
(d) Logistic facilities and Infrastructure: Adequate roads, rail, phone, postal and transportation facilities are to be considered while deciding on the location of plant and service facilities.
(e ) Skilled labour Supply: Regular supply of skilled labour is one of the major factors to be considered while deciding on the plant or service location. Example: Software companies are located in Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi.
(f) Power Supply: This is a very critical factor to be analyzed. Uninterrupted power supply with proper voltage is one of the prerequisites of plant location decision. 
(g) Business Climate: Companies must find a positive business climate or environment in the area, state or a country to set-up manufacturing or service facility there.
Secondary Factors:
(a) Host community and political factors: The community near the industry proposed location should be willing to welcome the new industry. Local people should feel that there will be improvement in their quality of life due to the new industry.
(b) Natural Factor: Land, water, climate condition, sources of material attract and help some industries Example: Tea industry, cotton industry, coffee industry, coconut oil industry etc.
(c) Historical factors: Capitals of old kingdoms of yesteryears, large religious places sometimes attract companies to set up their plants. 
(d) Initial start and living conditions: Some industries were started earlier in certain places during the British era in its early stages. The industries since then have developed making good living conditions. The related industries start getting located in the place. e.g: Jamshedpur, Kirloskarwadi.
(e) Personal factors: The history of the entrepreneuring company or family or personal considerations play a key role in location decision. 
(f) Government policies: Government play their own role in the location decision of new industries. The Government of India and the state governments have made special efforts in making industries grow and made manufacturing and service units all over India with a view to have a balanced developmental spread all over the country and the region. 
(g) Environmental considerations: Environmental issues for certain industries for a particular location are to be checked before deciding on location.
(h) International factors: For companies deciding to go overseas for locating a unit for manufacturing or service must consider behavioral aspects, cultural differences, technology, government policies etc.

Meaning and Definition of Plant location

The efficiency of production depends on how well the various machines; production facilities and employee’s amenities are located in a plant. Only the properly laid out plant can ensure the smooth and rapid movement of material, from the raw material stage to the end product stage. Plant layout encompasses new layout as well as improvement in the existing layout.
It may be defined as a technique of locating machines, processes and plant services within the factory so as to achieve the right quantity and quality of output at the lowest possible cost of manufacturing. It involves a judicious arrangement of production facilities so that workflow is direct.
Definition: A plant layout can be defined as follows:
Plant layout refers to the arrangement of physical facilities such as machinery, equipment, furniture etc. with in the factory building in such a manner so as to have quickest flow of material at the lowest cost and with the least amount of handling in processing the product from the receipt of material to the shipment of the finished product.
According to Riggs, “the overall objective of plant layout is to design a physical arrangement that most economically meets the required output – quantity and quality.”
According to J. L. Zundi, “Plant layout ideally involves allocation of space and arrangement of equipment in such a manner that overall operating costs are minimized.

Need and objectives of plant layout

Plant layout is an important decision as it represents long-term commitment. An ideal plant layout should provide the optimum relationship among output, floor area and manufacturing process. It facilitates the production process, minimizes material handling, time and cost, and allows flexibility of operations, easy production flow, makes economic use of the building, promotes effective utilization of manpower, and provides for employee’s convenience, safety, comfort at work, maximum exposure to natural light and ventilation. It is also important because it affects the flow of material and processes, labour efficiency, supervision and control, use of space and expansion possibilities etc. An efficient plant layout is one that can be instrumental in achieving the following objectives:
a) Proper and efficient utilization of available floor space
b) To ensure that work proceeds from one point to another point without any delay
c) Provide enough production capacity.
d) Reduce material handling costs
e) Reduce hazards to personnel
f) Utilise labour efficiently
g) Increase employee morale
h) Reduce accidents
i) Provide for volume and product flexibility
j) Provide ease of supervision and control
k) Provide for employee safety and health
l) Allow ease of maintenance
m) Allow high machine or equipment utilization
n) Improve productivity

Factors Affecting plant layout

While deciding his factory or unit or establishment or store, a small-scale businessman should keep the following factors in mind:
a) Factory building: The nature and size of the building determines the floor space available for layout. While designing the special requirements, e.g. air conditioning, dust control, humidity control etc. must be kept in mind.
b) Nature of product: product layout is suitable for uniform products whereas process layout is more appropriate for custom-made products.
c) Production process: In assembly line industries, product layout is better. In job order or intermittent manufacturing on the other hand, process layout is desirable.
d) Type of machinery: General purpose machines are often arranged as per process layout while special purpose machines are arranged according to product layout.
e) Repairs and maintenance: machines should be so arranged that adequate space is available between them for movement of equipment and people required for repairing the machines.
f) Human needs: Adequate arrangement should be made for cloakroom, washroom, lockers, drinking water, toilets and other employee facilities, proper provision should be made for disposal of effluents, if any.
g) Plant environment: Heat, light, noise, ventilation and other aspects should be duly considered, e.g. paint shops and plating section should be located in another hall so that dangerous fumes can be removed through proper ventilation etc. Adequate safety arrangement should also be made.
Thus, the layout should be conducive to health and safety of employees. It should ensure free and efficient flow of men and materials. Future expansion and diversification may also be considered while planning factory layout.

Production Planning and Control

Production Planning means to fix the production goals and to estimate the resources which are required to achieve these goals. It prepares a detailed plan for achieving the production goals economically, efficiently and in time. The plan determines steps in every production process. It forecasts the problems which may arise in production process and tries to remove them. It also tries to eliminate or minimize wastage to ensure cost effective production.
Ray Wild defines Production Planning as “Production Planning is concerned with the determination, acquisition and arrangement of all facilities necessary for future operations.”
Production Planning is followed by Production Control. Production control is a process by which actual performance is compared with the pre-determined standards. Production control guides and directs the flow of production so that products are manufactured in the best and cheapest method, which conforms to the desired quality and are ready for sale at right time.
Production comes into being as a result of combining materials, machines and other factors in operation. Managing individual factor is isolation from one another cannot make the work of production manager complete unless efforts are directed towards their combined results. Production planning and control direct the flow of production which symbolizes the combined effect of all factors.
Objectives of Production Planning and Control: The objectives of production planning and control are as follows:
a)      To determine the sequence of operation; which will ensure continuous production with the least possible interruption.
b)      To issue coordinated work schedule of production to the foremen of various shops.
c)       To plan plant capacity that will provide sufficient facilities for future production programmes.
d)      To maintain sufficient inventories of materials to support the continuous flow of production.
e)      To maintain production and employment levels that is relatively stable and consistent with the volume of sales.
f)       To follow up production schedule to ensure that delivery promises are kept.
g)      To evaluate the performance of various workshops and individuals.

Steps/Stages in Production Planning and Control

According to the British Standards Institute, there are four stages, steps or techniques in the process of production planning and control. These are as follows:
a)      Routing.
b)      Scheduling.
c)       Dispatching or issuing instructions.
d)      Inspection or Follow-up.
The initial two stages i.e. Routing and Scheduling relate to Production Planning; while the last two steps i.e. dispatching and follow-up relate to Production Control.
1.       Routing: It is the selection of the path or the route along which each piece of materials is to travel while being transformed from raw-materials to finished product. It establishes the operations, their path and sequence in addition to determining the proper class of machines and personnel required for these operations.
The objectives of routing is to determine the best and the cheapest sequence of operations and to ensure that this sequence is strictly followed. Efficient routing is one which permits the best utilization of physical and human resources employed in the manufacture of a product. In small enterprises this is done by the entrepreneur himself, in a rather ad hoc manner. In fact, routing requires great ability and experience.
2.       Scheduling: Scheduling involves determination of the time when various operations are to be performed. It assigns the starting and finishing times for each operation as well as for a group of integrated operations. Scheduling is primarily concerned with time element and priorities of a job. This becomes more important in those cases where several parts and components with varying sizes are to be produced for final assembly in to a finished product. The pattern of scheduling varies from one job to another. It ensures increased production and a higher margin of profit. Different trends of scheduling are enumerated below:
a)      Production Schedule: The aim of production scheduling is to ensure that the plant and equipments can conveniently handle a great volume of work without interference. This depends upon the following facilities.
1)      Physical plant facilities of the type required to process the materials being scheduled;
2)      Personnel who possess the desired skills and experience to operate the equipment and perform the type of work involved; and
3)      Necessary materials and purchased parts.
b)      Master Schedule: Scheduling usually starts with the preparation of the master schedule, which is simply a weekly or monthly breakup of the production requirement for each product for a definite period of time. This provides not only a convenient way of keeping running the total of production requirements but also enables an entrepreneur to plan in advance for any shift from one product to another or for a possible increase or decrease in production requirements. Thus, it provides information which becomes the basis of all subsequent scheduling activities.
c)       Manufacturing Schedule: Depending upon the type of manufacturing process involved, a Manufacturing Schedule is prepared. It is primarily useful when a single product or a relatively few products are manufactured continuously or repeated at regular intervals.
d)      Scheduling of job order Manufacturing: In job order manufacturing scheduling acquires great importance. This enables speedy execution of a job at each focal point.
3.       Dispatching or issuing instructions: Dispatching is a doing function of production management and initiates actual manufacturing in accordance with the work of routing and scheduling. Dispatching consists essentially of the issue of order in terms of their priority as determined by scheduling. It includes assignment of works to the operators at their machines or work place. Thus, dispatching determines who will do the work, as routing determines where and scheduling determines when it shall be done. Dispatching consists of official instructions on following aspects of production management and control system of an organisation.
a)      Movement of materials to different work places.
b)      Movement of tools and fixtures necessary for each operation.
c)       Beginning of work on each operation.
d)      Recording of beginning and completion time of each operation.
e)      Movement of work in accordance with a routing schedule.
f)       Control over progress of all operations.
g)      Making necessary adjustments in the release of instructions.
Further, dispatching provides report on the work progress and ensures the completion of operations. Data for cost finding are also supplied from the dispatching work. More importantly, dispatching becomes a pointer to the deficiencies of routing and scheduling in many cases and thereby suggests changes in the production planning.
4.       Inspection or Follow-Up: ‘Inspection’ is the manufacturing function that examines whether the production is carried out as per the standard set or not. Inspection aims at maintaining quality standard and calls for minimizing product scraping or rejection. As faulty production results mostly from defects in materials or machines, inspection requires testing of materials before their transformation into finished product as well as the checking of machines and tools to ensure their accuracy of performance. Instead of permitting products to be scrapped after manufacturing, inspection is supposed to reduce the cost of rejections by preventing the occurrence of such faulty production.

        Inspection pursues the production process step by step till its completion and evaluates the work process with reference to predetermined standards of performance. However, the extent of inspection works differs between companies or between products. In some companies, inspection is confined to a limited number of products under the statistical method of random sampling. On the contrary, a policy of cent per cent inspection is followed in many companies.

Quality Control in Small Business Enterprises

Quality Control in a manufacturing enterprise means the systematic control of those variables which affect the excellence of the ultimate product. The variables in general are man, machines, materials and manufacturing conditions. Each of these variables is not always uniformly available in the nature. There are differences in them for variety of reasons. For example, due to caprices of nature, materials may differ in their composition and physical characteristics. Similarly, men vary in their degree of skill and proficiency. All machines are not of equal quality as they are made by men by use of materials which vary in several counts. Further, manufacturing conditions such as temperature, humidity, building, vibrations, composition of coolers, dust and dirt in the air are all subject to great variations. The practice of Quality control ensures proper regulation of all these variables so that they do not cause any distortion in excellence of the finished product.
Quality is a related concept, which relates to certain predetermined characteristics such as shape, dimension, compositions, strength, finish, colour, time weight, etc. According to Alford and Beatty, “Quality control is the mechanism by which products are made to measure upto the specifications determined from the customer’s demand and transformed into sales, engineering and manufacturing equipments. It is concerned with making things right rather than discovering and rejecting those made wrong. Quality control is a technique by which the products of uniform acceptable quality are manufactured”.
Quality control techniques are widely used in manufacturing industries for rapid development of the industrial economy. Many improvements are made in the quality of products without any additional capital investment. Several countries of the world have recovered their economies and established firm foreign markets by improving the quality of their products. Among other thing, quality control provides considerable savings at various stages of production. For this purpose, standardization plays a fundamental role in the assessment, specification and measurement of quality of a product. With the help of standardization, it is possible to lay down the basic procedures for ensuring quality control. Thus, standardization and quality control go hand in hand.
Objectives of Quality Control: The practice of Quality Control is introduced by manufacturing enterprises towards attainment of the following objectives.
a)      To establish quality standards: Efficient manufacturing concerns always work towards satisfaction of their customers. They pay due to importance on consumers’ behaviour and always try to bring out the best quality products into the market. To them, qualitative upgradation of products is a continuous process. In doing so, the manufacturers set quality standards for their products which are readily acceptable to the customers. In fact, this is the primary objective of quality control.
b)      To ascertain Quality Deviation: Another important objective of quality control is to examine the quality deviation in the products and analyze the causes of such deviations to take corrective measures for ensuring quality sustenance.
c)       To examine the method adopted in the process of production and suggest improvements: The practice of quality control goes deep into the method adopted in the process of production and examines if there is any imperfection that may cause quality degradation of products. In case any imperfection is located, corrective measures are suggested.
d)      To increase sales by presenting only quality goods: In a competitive market environment where customers are quality conscious, only quality goods as competitive price find their place. Therefore, the ultimate objective of quality control is to ensure supply of only quality goods into the market at least possible price.

Importance of Quality Control

Quality control has come to occupy a very prominent place in the today’s market driver economy. It is now increasingly realized that improvement and sustenance of quality it services of every concern is the only pre-condition for its very survival. To highlight the importance of quality control in a manufacturing concern, Alford and Beatty have pointed out the following benefits as Quality control.
a)      Improvement in quality level and uniformity of incoming materials.
b)      Improvement in quality level and uniformity of finished products with either higher market value for a.
c)       Reduction in inspection costs.
d)      Reduction in rejections, scrap and rework.
e)      Improvements in quality consciousness on the part of those in direct contact with quality control.
f)       Improvement in designs of product and process to enable production of a given product standard at lower costs.
g)      Improvement in producer-customer relations.
h)      Improvements in technical and engineering data for use of a product and process development and manufacturing design.

Advantages of Quality Control

The Practice of quality control techniques provides the following the following advantages.
a)      It encourages distribution, increases sales and builds up goodwill of brand in the market.
b)      It facilitates all-round efficiency in the organisation.
c)       It advises the entrepreneur in determining responsibility of individual worker and of the production unit.
d)      It reduces cost by checking wastages, increasing efficiency, standardizing procedures, machines, tools materials and working conditions.
e)      It enables the entrepreneur to know the cost of a product in advance; so that he may determine the competitive price.
Methods of Quality Control
There are two methods of Quality Control as discussed below:
1.       Inspection: Inspection pursues the production process step by step till its completion and evaluates the work process with reference to predetermined standards of performance. However, the extent of inspection works differs between companies or between products. Inspection may either be preventive or curative. While preventive inspection is carried out at every stage of a production process to check any imperfection; curative inspection is taken up after the production takes place, to separate the defective goods from the right quality goods.
On the whole, this method examines whether the production is carried out as per the standard set or not. Inspection aims at maintaining quality standard and calls for minimizing product scraping or rejection. As faulty production results mostly from defects in materials or machines, inspection requires testing of materials before their transformation into finished product as well as the checking of machines and tools to ensure their accuracy of performance. Instead of permitting products to be scrapped after manufacturing, inspection is supposed to reduce the cost of rejection by preventing the occurrence of such faulty production.
2.       Statistical Quality Control: Statistical Quality Control (SQC) is a special type of technique to control the quality of a product. In this method, statistical techniques are used to gather and analyze data with a view to determining and controlling quality. It is based on sampling, probability and statistical inference. This means that it judges an entire lot by the characteristics of sample. Under this process, a small part of a certain lot of products is inspected and its quality is assumed to be the quality of the entire lot. This is called statistical inference. The Statistical Quality Control system is divided into three steps namely:
a)      Analysis of samples;
b)      Use of Control Charts and
c)       Taking corrective actions.
Statistical Quality Control is a diagnostic and preventive device of quality control. It is an anti-waste device, operated with such scientific thoroughness that it ensures flow of quality goods into the market at least inspection or such other costs. It also enables optimum utilization of resources. It is widely used in process control in continuous process industries producing goods on a mass scale.
ADVANTAGES OF STATISTICAL QUALITY CONTROL: The method of Statistical Quality Control enjoys the following advantages:
a)      Lower cost of Inspection: As this method is based on sampling technique, the cost of inspection becomes lower.
b)      Ensures quality of work at every individual operation: The use of Control Chart technique informs the management about any imperfection in the production process. This significantly helps in controlling the quality of works done on individual operation when the work is being done.
c)       Helps to decide on acceptance or otherwise of products: Statistical Quality Control helps management to decide whether to accept or reject the lots of production already produced or manufactured.
d)      Enables prompt remedial actions: Statistical Quality Control sets up levels of deviations (tolerance limits) to be allowed. When these limits are crossed, action is promptly taken.
e)      Enhances goodwill of the enterprise: Statistical Quality Control enhances goodwill of the enterprise.
f)       Boosts worker’s morale: Statistical Quality Control increases the morale of the workers as they get satisfaction by working in an organisation producing high quality goods.

Technology for small business enterprises and its role

Technology plays a crucial role for survival of any industrial unit. Technology is always time tested. It changes over time with advancement of civilization. Technological obsolescence fails to adapt to the market change and as such is a great hindrance to progress and development. In fact, the status of technology of a country is considerably determined by the level of development of the economy. Developed economies use highly developed and sophisticated technologies as against the use of poor and out dated technologies by less the less developed economies. As a matter of fact, development itself is the outcome of the status of technology in use; which in turn depends upon various factors.
In a country like India, where close to 95 per cent of all the business enterprises is Micro and Small Enterprises, use of appropriate technology is great challenge. The 4th MSME Census data available shows that out of the total Micro and Small Enterprises, only 67.10 per cent is manufacturing enterprises and only 67.07 per cent use electricity in their operations. It is still pathetic to find that the average size of investment in plant and machinery is significantly how in micro (Rs. 1.94 lakh) and small (Rs. 71.59 lakh) enterprises. This is even lower when compared to the respective service sector limits (Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 2 crore) under the MSMED Act, 2006
It is observed that prior to globalization of Indian economy, except for a small segment of modern small industry, which made use of state of art technology; the sector was saddled with obsolete technology. This indeed appeared as a serious challenge for India to withstand the onslaught of global competition. With no access to the latest developments in the fields of knowledge and skill, productivity in this sector continued to be low.
However, the post liberalization era in the Indian economy has enhanced the opportunities and challenges for the small industries sector. On late, with Government interventions, the Indian small business entrepreneurs are gradually getting adapted to the needs of the time and pace. Today, with their dynamism, flexibility and innovative drive they are increasingly focusing on improved production methods, penetrative marketing strategies and management capabilities to sustain and strengthen their operations. They are thus poised for global partnership and to absorb latest technologies in diverse industrial fields.
Technical Know-How and its Importance in Small Enterprises: The knowledge and skill required to do something correctly is called technical know-how. It is the term used to denote practical knowledge on how to accomplish something. In fact, it refers to a person who knows the craft of doing something, not usually known by others.
Business enterprises, more particularly manufacturing concerns require certain specific type of knowledge for their operation. The traditional manufacturing processes are more confined to the culture of the people for long time and as such are spontaneously absorbed by the people who are traditionally accustomed to them. But when it comes to modern manufacturing process, it calls for something new to be acquired by the generation. Therefore, modern industrialization requires certain special skill for operation of manufacturing process. These are the special type of technologies operated through power driven machines and not only produce better quality products but are also cost effective. Such modern technologies continue to change for better with new inventions. As the new technologies come up, products become more efficient to satisfy consumers’ needs at more and more cheaper price. Such changes in technologies require special technical know-how for their operation. This is developed through training and apprenticeship.
In is imperative that in competitive and constantly changing marketing conditions, the production of quality good at minimu7m cost depends solely on the availability of technical know-how from time to time. Modernization for higher productivity also depends on technical know-how, which is essential for healthy growth of small manufacturing enterprises. In fact, acquiring appropriate technology and the required technical know=how to match the technology is a great challenge for the Small Manufacturing Enterprises sector in India. Technical know-how, however, depends on industrial research. Particularly in the small manufacturing enterprises sector, availability of technical know-how not only ensures stability in marketing and profits, but is also essential for very survival of a unit.
Researches are essential for ensuring cheaper production. For this purpose, product research and research on equipment and process of small manufacturing enterprises are most essential.
a)      Profit Research: It relates to designing a product in addition to giving colour, assigning brand, etc. to it. Product research helps management by giving various ideas about a product and also helps to stabilize and expand sales. It also evolves the necessary technical know-how for a product.

b)      Equipment and process Research: It is the study of industrial process, methods, tools and equipments and handling devices to produce a product on commercial basis at minimum cost. The development of new methods and mechanisms for increasing the safety process are fertile fields for this type of research.