Differentiate between Process Layout and Work Cell Layout along with their pros and cons.

Differentiate between Process Layout and Work Cell Layout along with their pros and cons.

CSS Solved Business Administration Past Papers | Differentiate between Process Layout and Work Cell Layout along with their pros and cons.

The following question is attempted by Miss Nimra Masood, the top scorer in CSS Business Administration papers. Moreover, the answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Topic Breakdown:
Operations management is an integral part of many firms, especially those involved in production or warehousing. One critical decision in operations is to decide its layout decision to define the flow of work among employees.
Topic: Layout Decision
Subject: Operations management


The layout facility is crucial for the operational efficiency of the firm. The operations manager has to decide from numerous layout options, one that could optimize its operational efficiency. The layout strategies may focus on differentiation, cost or response time; however, an effective manager must try to achieve a balance between all three factors. Two of the most effective layout strategies are process and work cell; nonetheless, both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Purpose of a layout strategy:

  • Higher utilization of space, equipment and people.
  • Facilitates the flow of communication within and outside the organization.
  • Focus on the working environment and employee safety.
  • Flexibility in process.

Process Layout

Definition of Process Layout:

Also called “Job shop” or “intermittent production”. The prime focus of this layout is low volume but high variety production; therefore, similar machines and equipment are grouped together. This type of strategy is most effective when innovation is necessary or environment is dynamic with changing needs. A small product or batch moves along different departments in a particular sequence.

Advantages of process layout:

  • Its biggest advantage is the flexibility in equipment and labor assignment.
  • It specializes in managing production in small batches.
  • It aids in producing a wide variety of different forms and sizes.

Disadvantages of process layout:

  • Time-consuming due to lengthy processes and specialized material handling.
  • It requires highly skilled labor, which in turn requires specialized training
  • Work-in-process inventories are generally higher in this process; thus, increasing capital investment.
  • Relatively higher costs.

Work Cell Layout

Definition of Work Cell Layout:

Also known as the “cellular layout”. This type of layout focuses on making a particular product or a family of products. The machines and people are so arranged to group various departments or units into a single unit. Group technology identifies similar products and lends itself into a particular work cell. This type of layout focuses on bulk production as compared to the process layout.

Advantages of work cell layout:

  • Better human relations and coordination as it consists of a small team.
  • Improved operator expertise as there is repetition.
  • Lesser work in process inventory and material handling.
  • Faster production setup.

Disadvantages of work cell layout:

  • Rigid with lower room for flexibility.
  • Focuses on the production of similar products so variety is difficult in this layout.

Difference between process layout and work cell layout

  • Quantity:

The first and primary difference between the two layout strategies is that of quantity. While the process layout is focused on small quantities in batches, the work cell layout is for large-scale production.

  • Type of product:

The other major difference is that of the product type. Process layout is meant for producing a variety of products in different sizes and forms; while the work cell layout produces one or similar type of product.

  • Human resource:

Another difference is that of the workforce. In process layout, not only a large number workforce is required, but they may also be highly trained. In a work cell layout, the number of workers is less, and they do not require specialized training as the repetitive process makes them adept at production.

  • Workspace:

In process layout, the workspace required is a lot more because the process is divided into different departments. Meanwhile, in the work cell layout, departments are grouped together, thus reducing the space required. Thus the workers can access the work area easily, and it can be easily managed.

  • Communication:

In process layout, the communication process is slower and formal due to the complicated process and large workforce. In the work cell layout, the communication process is enhanced and informal due to the limited workforce and easier processes.

  • Inventory and costs:

Last but not least work cell layout has lower costs and inventory as compared to the process layout.


Layout strategies are an integral part of operations management. Two main strategies are of process and work cell layout. The two strategies are opposite to each other, with both having pros and cons. The operations manager must first analyze its strengths and core competencies before choosing the layout facility.

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