Designing manufacturing facility layouts to mitigate congestion

Min Zhang, Rajan Batta, Rakesh Nagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When workflow congestion is prevalent, minimizing total expected material handling time is more appropriate than minimizing a distance-based objective in manufacturing facility layout design. This article presents a model labeled the Full Assignment Problem with Congestion (FAPC), which simultaneously optimizes the layout and flow routing. FAPC is a generalization of the Quadratic Assignment Problem (QAP), a classic problem for the location of a set of indivisible economic activities. A branch-and-price algorithm is proposed and a computational study is performed to verify its effectiveness as a solution methodology for the FAPC. A numerical study confirms the benefits of simultaneous consideration of layout and routing when confronted with workflow congestion. A detailed simulation for a case problem is presented to verify the overall benefits of incorporating congestion in layout/routing. A critique of FAPC with two alternative models is also provided. Three conclusions are offered from this work. First, a combination of re-layout and re-routing is a more powerful way to mitigate the impact of workflow congestion rather than using just the re-layout or just the re-routing options. Second, it is important to model workflow congestion in a manufacturing facility-that is, ignoring it can result in a significantly poor design. Third, the QAP layout is dominated by the FAPC layout for situations of medium workflow intensity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-702
Number of pages14
JournalIIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Facility redesign
  • flow re-routing
  • material handling
  • workflow congestion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Designing manufacturing facility layouts to mitigate congestion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this