A weighted similarity coefficient technique for manufacturing facility design
Purpose ‐ Using the weighted similarity coefficient (WSC) technique in the design of manufacturing facilities provides the system designer with a suitable method for the creation of efficient manufacturing cells. The formation of such well designed machine cells will then hopefully ensure that the achievable cost reduction benefits, in terms of lower operational costs incurred via the transfer of components between machines, are obtained by companies that wish to use cellular manufacturing in their approach to production operations. The aim of this paper is to outline and evaluate the application of a particular WSC equation to the formulation and design of cellular manufacturing systems. Design/methodology/approach ‐ By using a pragmatic approach, the paper chronicles the design and development of a particular weighted similarity coefficient as a means of defining a possibly useful methodology for cell design in manufacturing systems. The technique outlined is subsequently evaluated for its generic nature, applicability and effectiveness via the use of previously published synthetic production data and a comparison with the results of several alternative approaches. Findings ‐ The development of the proposed weighted similarity coefficient to manufacturing cellular design is outlined in the paper and the appropriateness of the technique is subsequently evaluated in order that the benefits obtainable by its use to a host organisation are highlighted. In addition, the results show how the approach can lead to useful improvements in cellular manufacturing performance if adopted by manufacturing system designers and implemented in their designs. Practical implications ‐ The design, development and application of the WSC proposed and its use in manufacturing cellular design provides a simple yet highly effective approach to achieving useful improvements in production system performance through improved work-part transfer efficiency and associated cost savings. The paper offers practising manufacturing managers and engineers a technique whereby manufacturing cell productive efficiency and output can be improved whilst at the same time achieving a reduction in operational costs. Originality/value ‐ The paper focuses on the proposed WSC technique which contributes to the existing knowledge base on production cell design and may also provide impetus, guidance, support and encouragement for designers to achieve improved output performance and reduced costs in their manufacturing system designs.
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