A discrete event simulation-based approach for production planning and plant layout design of flexible modular building manufacturing

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University of New Brunswick


Modular manufacturing has several advantages over the conventional on-site building technique such as improved productivity and cost-effectiveness; however, there is often a limit on the potential increased efficiency in terms of how much customization can be incorporated into the modular construction. To meet the growing demand of customers and shift from mass production to mass customization, optimizing the production process becomes essential. A generic framework and detailed implementation for simulation-based approaches to design an optimal facility layout and production process are still lacking. Through a case study, the simulation model of the entire production process was constructed using discrete event simulation to evaluate the efficiency of the production system and to identify and solve any potential bottlenecks in the current facility. Through several what-if scenarios, the production increased from 6.8 modules per month to 7.7 modules per month by only increasing the workforce utilization rate. A new facility layout was also configured for maximum flexibility to produce a high-quality product that provides the diversity demanded by customers.