This chapter is concerned with two main topics – location and design of an operation’s physical infrastructure.
Location theory derives from three main sources – regional economics (tends to focus on industry location); economic geography (concerned with location of all kinds of industry sectors); and practitioners (especially with regards to site selection). Pre-eminent in the field is Weber’s 1909 work which laid the foundations of location theory by developing an algorithm for optimising the location of a manufacturing plant.
Architectural theory and interior design theory underpin an operation’s physical space, within which there are two OM specific concepts – process type and the servicescape.
The layout of equipment in a materials processing operation can be configured in a number of different ways, which leads to a typology of process types (fixed layout, process layout, etc.). The selection of a specific layout relates to both the Theory of Smooth Even Flow and the Theory of Constraints.
In customer processing operations, the servicescape concept developed by Bitner (1992) takes principles from interior design theory and from process design to propose that the physical environment of an operation can affect the behaviour of both customers and employees. Han et al (2018) provide a fairly recent review of research into the servicescape. In their article they identify 44 research studies and they categorise and analyse these in a variety of ways.
Han, J., Kang, H-J., and Kwon, G.H. (2018) A Systematic Underpinning and Framing of the Servicescape: Reflections on Future Challenges in Healthcare Services, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15, 509