Lean Plant Layout, Lean Factory Layout

Lean Consultants are facing increasing pressure to increase production while reducing costs. Despite efforts to streamline operations, they continue to struggle with inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the production process.

Many plant managers today are dealing with the same issues that were prevalent years back:

  • Inefficient use of space: A poorly designed layout can lead to wasted space, which can increase costs and reduce productivity.
  • Difficulty in monitoring and controlling the production process: A cluttered and disorganised layout can make it difficult for management to monitor and control the production process, leading to errors and delays.
  • Long lead times and bottlenecks: A lack of flow in the production process can lead to long lead times and bottlenecks, which can slow down production and increase costs.
  • Difficulty in adapting to changes in demand: A rigid and inflexible layout can make it difficult for a factory to adapt to changes in demand, leading to production problems and lost sales.
  • Difficulty in maintaining equipment: A poorly designed layout can make it difficult to access and maintain equipment, leading to costly downtime and repairs.

By implementing lean layout, manufacturers can eliminate waste, optimise flow, and improve overall efficiency, ultimately solving these problems and resulting in increased productivity, reduced lead times, and lower costs.

If you are new to the lean concept here we have discussed the lean which is broken into three parts, you can jump to any section by clicking on it.

What is a Lean Plant Layout?

Difference between Traditional & Lean Plant layout ?

What is a good Lean Plant Layout?

Advantages of using a lean plant layout?

What is Lean Plant Layout?

A lean plant layout is a design strategy that aims to optimize the use of space and resources in a manufacturing facility. The goal is to minimize waste and increase efficiency by eliminating unnecessary steps and movement in the production process. This can be achieved by using techniques such as just-in-time production, cellular manufacturing, and creating a visual workplace. Lean plant layouts can also include features such as flexible manufacturing cells, multipurpose workstations, and the use of ergonomic design principles to improve worker safety and comfort. The overall goal is to create a manufacturing environment that is efficient, safe, and responsive to changing customer needs.

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Lean Plant Layout

Difference between Traditional & Lean Plant layout ?

Traditional plant layout:

  • Typically involves a large amount of fixed equipment, such as machinery and conveyors.
  • Often uses batch and queue production methods, where items are produced in large batches and then stored in inventory until they are needed.
  • Can result in long lead times and large amounts of inventory
  • Often includes a lot of specialised equipment and dedicated production lines
  • Can be inflexible and difficult to adapt to changes in demand or product mix.

Lean plant layout:

  • Emphasises flexibility and adaptability, using multi-purpose equipment and flexible production lines
  • Uses just-in-time (JIT) production methods, where items are produced only as they are needed
  • Minimises inventory and lead times
  • Focuses on continuous improvement and waste
  • reduction Can be more responsive to changes in demand and product mix.

In summary, the traditional plant layout focuses on individual departments and functional areas while the lean plant layout focuses on optimizing the flow of materials and eliminating waste. Regenerate

What is a good Lean Plant Layout?

In Lean Plant Layouting we work for elimination of Waste.There are 8 types of Wastes of MUDA (Muda is a Japanese word meaning wastefulness and it is a key concept in lean process thinking work on the concept of Toyota Production System) in Lean Manufacturing that can be memorised through the acronym TIMWOODS.

It stands for- Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Over processing, Defects and Skills.


Transportation is moving material and products from one position to another. In Transportation there is unnecessary movement which doesn’t add value to the product, the reason behind is poor route planning, unnecessarily complex flows of material, disorganised workplaces. In Lean Layouting we make a proper workflow for minimising unnecessary movements.


There are three types of Inventory- Raw material, Work-in-progress inventory and finished products.This includes the waste of storage, waste of capital tied up in unprocessed inventory, waste of containers used to hold inventory and the lighting of the storage space.In Lean Layouting we understand the need of raw material and make a proper plan for storage to minimise material handling cost.


Motion is an excess movement of People (Walking) which causes additional delays in production.In Lean Layouting we analyse workers and their operations to minimise the excess motion to reduce production time and delivery failure.


This type refers to the waste of time in waiting for the previous process to be done.In Lean Layouting we understand the bottleneck of the process and try to make a plan for a continuous process.


Overproduction occurs when we produce more than we need. It is extremely costly for a manufacturing company as it disrupts the flow of materials and affects the quality of the item and overall decreases productivity.In Lean Layouting we understand the need of material and try to decrease over production.

Over Processing 

Over Processing is an unnecessary process and steps that do not add value to the product and adding attributes to a product that are not necessary.In Lean Layouting we make a proper plan for all the production process to reduce WIP time and increase Productivity


Defects refer to a product deviating from the standard design and customer’s expectation.Defective products must be replaced but we have a heavy loss of manpower and material that we use to make it. In Lean Layouting we work to minimise the defects.


The waste of human potential comes under skill waste.In organisation we do not understand the expertise of an employee and only give orders to follow.

In Lean Layouting we understand the expertise of employees and give work according to their skills and also we provide some training to increase their skills if needed.

In lean Layouting, waste is anything that adds costs or delays in production without adding value to the product. In Lean Layouting we identify these wastes and take corrective actions to eliminate them.

Lean layout results in comforts, convenience, appearance, safety, and profits and a poor layout results in congestion, waste, frustration and inefficiency.Following are the some advantages of using Lean

Advantages of using Lean Plant Layout

In Manufacturing Cost Reduction

  • Reduced consumption of power by Minimise downtime
  • Minimisation of scrap and defects
  • Cost reduction by material handling 
  • Cost reduction by maintenance
  • Time saving with SMED & increases availability of machines for the production
  • Effective utilisation of materials by using future forecasting
  • Fully utilisation of machinery 
  • Effective utilisation of Cubic space

In Labour Cost Reduction

  • Less labour required for material handling 
  • Reduce bottleneck and the over-burdens 
  • Reduction in waiting time of the WIP
  • By right utilisation of skills 

In Production Control

  • Increase productivity by reduce WIP time
  • Reduces the WIP space by Single Piece Flow
  • Design better storage points
  • Increased production rate by eliminate waste
  • Improved forecasting strategy
  • Increased production rate by eliminate bottleneck
  • Reduction in delivery failure
  • Suitable spaces are allocating to production centres
  • Flexibility to meet future technology change and production requirements 

In For Supervision

  • Better flow for supervision by making gangways
  • Reduction in time of rechecking
  • Reduction supervision by eliminate waste 

For Workers

  • Make material handling easy for workers
  • Reduction of manpower efforts by using machinery
  • Better safety and less chance of accidents
  • Improved productivity leading to higher wages
  • Working conditions are better ,safer and improved

Now we have discussed the objective, Types, factors affecting a plant layout. Let’s understand how tetrahedron approaches a Project with a Lean Layout  methodology while considering the topic discussed above.

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