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Operations Management: An Integrated Approach, 5th Edition by Nada R. Sanders, R. Dan Reid

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Step 2: Develop a Block Plan

The next step in the layout planning process is to develop a new block plan or a better block plan than the one already in existence. A block plan can be developed either by trial and error or by choosing from a variety of decision-support tools. We will first use trial and error to develop a better block plan for Recovery First. When the layout problem is small in scope, trial and error can work well. However, when the layout problem is large, it may be necessary to rely on available software. Regardless of whether you choose to use software to make your layout decisions, it is important to understand the logic behind trial and error, because decision-support tools are based on heuristics that use logic similar to that used in trial and error. To understand how the decision-support tools work, you need to understand the trial-and-error process.

Using Trial and Error Recall that the goal is to develop a layout that places departments close together that have been identified as needing close proximity by either the from–to matrix or the REL chart. Recovery First has decided to develop a layout that minimizes the number of trips made in order to improve its efficiency. We will use information in the from–to matrix in Table 10-2 to identify critical pairings of departments.

Looking at the from–to matrix, we begin by identifying pairs of departments that need to be located close together. We look for pairs of departments with a high number of trips between ...

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