Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering


structural complexity


Hoda ElMaraghy




The layout of a manufacturing facility/system not only shapes material flow pattern and influence transportation cost, but also affects the decision making process on the shop floor. The layout of manufacturing systems determines the information content of its structural complexity inherent in the layout by virtue of its configuration design. This thesis proposes a methodology which converts the physical system layout to a graphical representation to produce measurable complexity indices. The elements to represent the physical layout are the number of places where decisions are made and relationships within the layout. The structural characteristics of the layout include density, paths, cycles, decision points, redundancy distribution and magnitude, which are captured by the complexity indices. The indices are directly determined by the information content, and the layout complexity index (LCI) combines those individual indices representing the structural complexity of the layout. The LCI is insensitive to the sequence of the complexity index values, which is its main advantage. The methodology is applied to six manufacturing systems layouts. Two layouts from the literature were used for comparison purposes since their complexity was previously assessed. The developed method is used to design the least complex layouts and to compare alternative layouts.