A facility is a location, including buildings where particular activities happen. Before building a new facility there are numerous problems that have to be solved to make sure it will work properly. For instance, where do we place the departments and on how much floor space? What equipment do we need? It is also important to consider geographical restrictions and benefits. All these problems can be divided into three sub problems.
The layout problem tries to find the optimal or a feasible solution for the placement of the departments, and the equipment inside the departments. This can be done with systematic Layout Planning which uses different algorithms and heuristics to obtain possible solutions. After this simulation programs can be used to proof the results and optimize them.
Facility system design is the structural design of the building. This includes the available space and all non specific infrastructures such as the wiring and systems to provide departments and work centers with supplies like water, electricity and fresh air.
The material handling problem deals with the storage, moving and controlling of products and supplies inside the facility. Here you could think of automated storage systems, automated guided vehicles or simply forklifts and manpower.
These questions have to be answered without violating any cost restraints, area restrictions and other limitations. The goal is to find an optimal solution with the given resources.