A fixed position layout is one of the three basic options for laying out facilities to produce goods or deliver services, the other options being a process layout or product layout. A fourth option, the cell layout, is actually a hybrid facility arrangement that combines some of the principles of fixed position and product layouts.
The term “fixed position” implies that the product remains (more or less) stationary and all materials, equipment, labor, instructions, etc. are brought to the place of work. The service equivalent might be where the “customer” remains stationary and the various elements of the service are delivered to the point where the customer is located. The labor resource can comprise an individual worker or might involve group working.
Fixed position layouts are usually a feature of batch production, or jobbing operations. They offer a number of advantages, the most important of which is product flexibility. This is achieved because the machines and equipment used in fixed position layouts are mostly of a general purpose nature, the workers are usually multi-skilled, and several different products (or services) can be produced simultaneously and in parallel. In some cases, use of a fixed position layout is unavoidable as a result of the sheer size and nature of the product being made (e.g., construction of an oil rig) or because the product will remain stationary.
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