ORGANISATION OF PHYSICAL FACILITIES - Production and Operations Management

Physical Facilities in an Organization

The following are the most important physical facilities to be organized:

  1. Factory building
  2. Lighting
  3. Climatic conditions
  4. Ventilation
  5. Work-related welfare facilities
  1. FACTORY BUILDING
    Factory building is a factor which is the most important consideration for every industrial enterprise. A modem factory building is required to provide protection for men, machines, materials, products or even the company’s secrets. It has to serve as a part of the production facilities and as a factor to maximize economy and efficiency in plant operations. It should offer a pleasant and comfortable working environment and project the management’s image and prestige. Factory building is like skin and bones of a living body for an organization. It is for these reasons that the factory building acquires great importance.

    Following factors are considered for an Industrial Building:

    1. Design of the building.
    2. Types of buildings.
    1. Design of the Building
      The building should designed so as to provide a number of facilities—such as lunch rooms, cafeteria, locker rooms, crèches, libraries, first-aid and ambulance rooms, materials handling facilities, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, etc. Following factors are considerations in the designing of a factory building:
      1. Flexibility:
        Flexibility is one of the important considerations because the building is likely to become obsolete and provides greater operating efficiency even when processes and technology change. Flexibility is necessary because it is not always feasible and economical to build a new plant, every time a new firm is organized or the layout is changed. With minor alternations, the building should be able to accommodate different types of operations.
      2. Product and equipment:
        The type of product that is to be manufactured, determines column-spacing, type of floor, ceiling, heating and air-conditioning. A product of a temporary nature may call for a less expensive building and that would be a product of a more permanent nature. Similarly, a heavy product demands a far more different building than a product which is light in weight.
      3. Expansibility:
        Growth and expansion are natural to any manufacturing enterprises. They are the indicators of the prosperity of a business. The following factors should be borne in mind if the future expansion of the concern is to be provided for:
        1. The area of the land which is to be acquired should be large enough to provide for the future expansion needs of the firm and accommodate current needs.
        2. The design of the building should be in a rectangular shape. Rectangular shapes facilitate expansion on any side.
        3. If vertical expansion is expected, strong foundations, supporters and columns must be provided.
        4. If horizontal expansion is expected, the side walls must be made non-load-bearing to provide for easy removal.
      4. Employee facilities and service area:
        Employee facilities must find a proper place in the building design because they profoundly affect the morale, comfort and productivity. The building plan should include facilities for lunch rooms, cafeteria, water coolers, parking area and the like. The provision of some of these facilities is a legal requirement. Others make good working conditions possible. And a good working condition is good business. Service areas, such as the tool room, the supervisor’s office, the maintenance room, receiving and dispatching stations, the stock room and facilities for scrap disposal, should also be included in the building design.
    2. Types of Buildings
      Industrial buildings may be grouped under three types:
      1. Single-storey buildings,
      2. Multi-storey buildings
      The decision on choosing a suitable type for a particular firm depends on the manufacturing process and the area of land and the cost of construction.
      1. SINGLE STOREY BUILDINGS
        Most of the industrial buildings manufacturing which are now designed and constructed are single storied, particularly where lands are available at reasonable rates. Single-storey buildings offer several operating advantages. A single-storey construction is preferable when materials handling is difficult because the product is big or heavy, natural lighting is desired, heavy floor loads are required and frequent changes in layout are anticipated.

        Advantages
        Advantages of single-storey building are:

        1. There is a greater flexibility in layout and production routing.
        2. The maintenance cost resulting from the vibration of machinery is reduced considerably because of the housing of the machinery on the ground.
        3. Expansion is easily ensured by the removal of walls.
        4. The cost of transportation of materials is reduced because of the absence of materials handling equipment between floors.
        5. All the equipment is on the same level, making for an easier and more effective layout supervision and control.
        6. Greater floor load-bearing capacity for heavy equipment is ensured.
        7. The danger of fire hazards is reduced because of the lateral spread of the building.

        Limitations
        Single-storey buildings suffer from some limitations. These are:

        1. High cost of land, particularly in the city.
        2. High cost of heating, ventilating and cleaning of windows.
        3. High cost of transportation for moving men and materials to the factory which is generally located far from the city.
      2. MULTI STOREY BUILDINGS
        Schools, colleges, shopping complexes, and residences, and for service industries like Software, BPO etc. multi-storey structures are generally popular, particularly in cities. Multi-storey buildings are useful in manufacture of light products, when the acquisition of land becomes difficult and expensive and when the floor load is less.

        Advantages
        When constructed for industrial use, multi-storey buildings offer the following advantages:

        1. Maximum operating floor space (per sq. ft. of land). This is best suited in areas where land is very costly.
        2. Lower cost of heating and ventilation.
        3. Reduced cost of materials handling because the advantage of the use of gravity for the flow of materials.

        Limitations
        Following are the disadvantages of multi-storey building:

        1. Materials handling becomes very complicated. A lot of time is wasted in moving them between floors.
        2. A lot of floor space is wasted on elevators, stairways and fire escapes.
        3. Floor load-bearing capacity is limited, unless special construction is used, which is very expensive.
        4. Natural lighting is poor in the centers of the shop, particularly when the width of the building is somewhat great.
        5. Layout changes cannot be effected easily and quickly.Generally speaking, textile mills, food industries, detergent plants, chemical industries and software industry use these types of buildings.
  2. LIGHTING
    It is estimated that 80 per cent of the information required in doing job is perceived visually. Good visibility of the equipment, the product and the data involved in the work process is an essential factor in accelerating production, reducing the number of defective products, cutting down waste and preventing visual fatigue and headaches among the workers. It may also be added that both inadequate visibility and glare are frequently causes accidents.

    In principle, lighting should be adapted to the type of work. However, the level of illumination, measured in should be increased not only in relation to the degree of precision or miniaturization of the work but also in relation to the worker’s age. The accumulation of dust and the wear of the light sources cut down the level of illumination by 10–50 per cent of the original level. This gradual drop in the level should therefore be compensated for when designing the lighting system. Regular cleaning of lighting fixture is obviously essential.

    Excessive contrasts in lighting levels between the worker’s task and the general surroundings should also be avoided. The use of natural light should be encouraged. This can be achieved by installing windows that open, which are recommended to have an area equal to the time of day, the distance of workstations from the windows and the presence or absence of blinds. For this reason it is essential to have artificial lighting, will enable people to maintain proper vision and will ensure that the lighting intensity ratios between the task, the surrounding objects and the general environment are maintained.

    CONTROL OF LIGHTING
    In order to make the best use of lighting in the work place, the following points should be taken into account:

    1. For uniform light distribution, install an independent switch for the row of lighting fixtures closest to the windows. This allows the lights to be switched on and off depending on whether or not natural light is sufficient.
    2. To prevent glare, avoid using highly shiny, glossy work surfaces.
    3. Use localized lighting in order to achieve the desired level for a particular fine job.
    4. Clean light fixtures regularly and follow a maintenance schedule so as to prevent flickering of old bulbs and electrical hazards due to worn out cables.
    5. Avoid direct eye contact with the light sources. This is usually achieved by positioning them property. The use of diffusers is also quite effective.
  1. CLIMATIC CONDITIONS
    Control of the climatic conditions at the workplace is paramount importance to the workers health and comfort and to the maintenance of higher productivity. With excess heat or cold, workers may feel very uncomfortable, and their efficiency drops. In addition, this can lead to accidents.

    This human body functions in such a way as to keep the central nervous system and the internal organs at a constant temperature. It maintains the necessary thermal balance by continuous heat exchange with the environment. It is essential to avoid excessive hear or cold, and wherever possible to keep the climatic conditions optimal so that the body can maintain a thermal balance.

    WORKING IN A HOT ENVIRONMENT
    Hot working environments are found almost everywhere. Work premise in tropical countries may, on account of general climatic conditions, be naturally hot. When source of heat such as furnaces, kilns or hot processes are present, or when the physical workload is heavy, the human body may also have to deal with excess heat. It should be noted that in such hot working environments sweating is almost the only way in which the body can lose heat. As the sweat evaporates, the body cools. There is a relationship between the amount and speed of evaporation and a feeling of comfort. The more intense the evaporation, the quicker the body will cool and feel refreshed. Evaporation increases with adequate ventilation.

    WORKING IN A COLD ENVIRONMENT
    Working in cold environments was once restricted to non-tropical or highly elevated regions. Now as a result of modern refrigeration, various groups of workers, even in tropical countries, are exposed to a cold environment.

    Exposure to cold for short periods of time can produce serious effects, especially when workers are exposed to temperatures below 10°C The loss of body heat is uncomfortable and quickly affects work efficiency. Workers in cold climates and refrigerated premises should be well protected against the cold by wearing suitable clothes, including footwear, gloves and, most importantly, a hat. Normally, dressing in layers traps dead air and serves as an insulation layer, thus keeping the worker warmer.

    CONTROL OF THE THERMAL ENVIRONMENT
    There are many ways of controlling the thermal environment. It is relatively easy to assess the effects of thermal conditions, especially when excessive heat or cold is an obvious problem. To solve the problem, however, consistent efforts using a variety of available measures are usually necessary. This is because the problem is linked with the general climate, which greatly affects the workplace climate, production technology, which is often the source of heat or cold and varying conditions of the work premises as well as work methods and schedules. Personal factors such as clothing, nutrition, personal habits, and age and individual differences in response to the given thermal conditions also need to be taken into account in the attempt to attain the thermal comfort of workers.

    In controlling the thermal environment, one or more of the following principles may be applied:

    1. Regulating workroom temperature by preventing outside heat or cold from entering (improved design of the roof, insulation material or installing an air-conditioned workroom. Air-conditioning is costly, especially in factories. But it is sometimes a worthwhile investment if an appropriate type is chosen);
    2. Provision of ventilation in hot workplaces by increasing natural ventilating through openings or installing ventilation devices;
    3. Separation of heat sources from the working area, insulation of hot surfaces and pipes, or placement of barriers between the heat sources and the workers;
    4. Control of humidity with a view to keeping it at low levels, for example by preventing the escape of steam from pipes and equipment;
    5. Provision of adequate personal protective clothing and equipment for workers exposed to excessive radiant heat or excessive cold (heat-protective clothing with high insulation value may not be recommended for jobs with long exposure to moderate or heavy work as it prevents evaporative heat loss);
    6. Reduction of exposure time, for example, by mechanization, remote control or alternating work schedules;
    7. Insertion of rest pauses between work periods, with comfortable, if possible air-conditioned, resting facilities;
    8. Ensuring a supply of cold drinking-water for workers in a hot environment and of hot drinks for those exposed to a cold environment.
  2. VENTILATION
    Ventilation is the dynamic parameter that complements the concept of air space. For a given number of workers, the smaller the work premises the more should be the ventilation.

    Ventilation differs from air circulation. Ventilation replaces contaminated air by fresh air, whereas as the air-circulation merely moves the air without renewing it. Where the air temperature and humidity are high, merely to circulate the air is not only ineffective but also increases heat absorption. Ventilation disperses the heat generated by machines and people at work. Adequate ventilation should be looked upon as an important factor in maintaining the worker’s health and productivity.

    Except for confined spaces, all working premises have some minimum ventilation. However, to ensure the necessary air flow (which should not be lower than 50 cubic meters of air per hour per worker), air usually needs to be changed between four to eight times per hour in offices or for sedentary workers, between eight and 12 times per hour in workshops and as much as 15 to 30 or more times per hour for public premises and where there are high levels of atmospheric pollution or humidity. The air speed used for workplace ventilation should be adapted to the air temperature and the energy expenditure: for sedentary work it should exceed 0.2 meter per second, but for a hot environment the optimum speed is between 0.5 and 1 meter per second. For hazardous work it may be even higher. Certain types of hot work can be made tolerable by directing a stream of cold air at the workers.

    Natural ventilation, obtained by opening windows or wall or roof air vents, may produce significant air flows but can normally be used only in relatively mild climates. The effectiveness of this type of ventilation depends largely on external conditions. Where natural ventilation is inadequate, artificial ventilation should be used. A choice may be made between a blown-air system, an exhaust air system or a combination of both (‘push-pull’ ventilation). Only ‘push-pull’ ventilation systems allow for better regulation of air movement.

  3. WORK-RELATED WELFARE FACILITIES
    Work-related welfare facilities offered at or through the workplace can be important factors. Some facilities are very basic, but often ignored, such as drinking-water and toilets. Others may seem less necessary, but usually have an importance to workers far greater than their cost to the enterprise.
    1. DRINKING WATER
      Safe, cool drinking water is essential for all types of work, especially in a hot environment. Without it fatigue increases rapidly and productivity falls. Adequate drinking water should be provided and maintained at convenient points, and clearly marked as “Safe drinking water”. Where possible it should be kept in suitable vessels, renewed at least daily and all practical steps taken to preserve the water and the vessels from contamination.
    2. SANITARY FACILITIES
      Hygienic sanitary facilities should exist in all workplaces. They are particularly important where chemicals or other dangerous substances are used. Sufficient toilet facilities, with separate facilities for men and women workers, should be installed and conveniently located. Changing- rooms and cloakrooms should be provided. Washing facilities, such as washbasins with soap and towels, or showers, should be placed either within changing-rooms or close by.
    3. FIRST AID AND MEDICAL FACILITIES
      Facilities for rendering first-aid and medical care at the workplace in case of accidents or unforeseen sickness are directly related to the health and safety of the workers. First-aid boxes should be clearly marked and conveniently located. They should contain only first-aid requisites of a prescribed standard and should be in the charge of qualified person. Apart from first-aid boxes, it is also desirable to have a stretcher and suitable means to transport injured persons to a centre where medical care can be provided.
    4. REST FACILITIES
      Rest facilities can include seat, rest-rooms, waiting rooms and shelters. They help workers to recover from fatigue and to get away from a noisy, polluted or isolated workstation. A sufficient number of suitable chairs or benches with backrests should be provided and maintained, including seats for occasional rest of workers who are obliged to work standing up. Rest-rooms enable workers to recover during meal and rest breaks.
    5. FEEDING FACILITIES
      It is now well recognized that the health and work capacity of workers to have light refreshments are needed. A full meal at the workplace in necessary when the workers live some distance away and when the hours of work are so organized that the meal breaks are short. A snack bar, buffet or mobile trolleys can provide tea, coffee and soft drinks, as well as light refreshments. Canteens or a restaurant can allow workers to purchase a cheap, well-cooked and nutritious meal for a reasonable price and eat in a clean, comfortable place, away from the workstation.
    6. CHILD CARE FACILITIES
      Many employers find that working mothers are especially loyal and effective workers, but they often face the special problems of carrying for children. It is for this reason that child-care facilities, including crèches and day-care centers, should be provided. These should be in secure, airy, clean and well lit premises. Children should be looked after property by qualified staff and offered food, drink education and play at very low cost.
    7. RECREATIONAL FACILITIES
      Recreational facilities offer workers the opportunity to spend their leisure time in activities likely to increase physical and mental well-being. They may also help to improve social relations within the enterprise. Such facilities can include halls for recreation and for indoor and outdoor sports, reading-rooms and libraries, clubs for hobbies, picnics and cinemas. Special educational and vocational training courses can also be organized.

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