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Levels of Facility Planning

How To Think In Levels and Prevent Detail From Overwhelming The Project 

The Levels of Detail

Factory layout is the focal point of facility design. It dominates the thinking of most managers. But factory layout is only one of several detail levels. At Strategos, we find it useful to think of facility planning at five levels:

At the Global level, we select a site location. This involves factors such as freight cost, labor cost, skill availability and site focus.

At the Supra-Layout level we plan the site. This includes number, size, and location of buildings. It includes infrastructure such as roads, water, gas and rail. This plan should look ahead to plant expansions and eventual site saturation

The Macro-Layout plans each building, structure or other sub-unit of the site. Operating departments are defined and located at this level. Frequently, this is the most important level of planning. A Macro-Layout institutionalizes the fundamental organizational structure in steel and concrete.


Levels of planning and strategic impactThe Micro Level IV determines the location of specific equipment and furniture. The emphasis shifts from gross material flow to personal space and communication. Socio-Technical considerations dominate.

The Sub Micro Level focuses on individual workers. Here we design workstations for efficiency, effectiveness and safety. Ergonomics is key.

Ideally, the design progresses from Global to Sub-Micro in distinct, sequential phases. At the end of each phase, the design is "frozen" by consensus. This settles the more global issues first. It allows smooth progress without continually revisiting unresolved issues. It prevents detail from overwhelming the project.

In practice these phases may overlap significantly, be omitted or taken out of sequence.
Next Page

Level Activity Space Planning Unit Environment Output
Site Location & Selection Sites World or Country Global facility planning
Site Planning Buildings or Site Features Site site planning
Macro Layout
Building Department or Block Layout Workcells or Departments Building factory macro layout planning
Micro Layout
Workcell of Department Workstations or Workcell Features Cells or Departments micro or detail layout
Sub Micro Layout
Workstation Design Tool & Fixture Locations Workstation workstation layout

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SEP 2007  

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