Let the flow manage the processes, and not let management manage the flow. – Taiichi Ohno
When talking about LEAN manufacturing — users are generally referring to creating a cell. A manufacturing cell is an efficient grouping of supplies, machines, tools, production equipment and of course, the people working it. Through thoughtful planning — all resources are arranged in close proximity to increase efficiency, less time spent walking from station to station on the factory floor and to allow a clear view for everyone on what’s going on at all times. Cells work. We continue to organize Kaizan events for each and every project we bring in because it continually eliminates the wastes that typical manufacturing operations have.
Types of Waste Found in Standard Operations
Excess Inventory: One of the costliest of all manufacturing wastes is excess inventory. Excess inventory is generally the product of overproduction. At Conelec, we find a balance between the work and our team operators not exceeding what their next teammate can handle. Since each layout is optimized to eliminate wasted movements, excess inventory is simple not tolerated because there is no space to manage it.
Overproduction: In most manufacturing floors, overproduction becomes a problem when one operation makes more than the next can handle. Cells eliminate this issue by keeping all operators in close proximity which balances the further steps. In some cells, a single operator can complete multiple tasks – which helps create stabilization and simplify product production.
Movement: When talking about inefficient movement – one has to look at a standard operating floor. How far does the average finished good travel? Does it flow a smooth transition from station to station or does it dart from one side of the floor to the next? Cells help eliminate wasted movement by organizing everything together in one singular space. Since team members are conveniently located in one place, everything they need to do is done without wasted movement.
Lean Manufacturing and Cellular Manufacturing improve material handling, inventory, quality, scheduling, personnel and customer satisfaction.