Cutting Lead Time and Increasing Floor Space
Increase Productivity by Improving Process Flow
Cellular manufacturing is the linking of manual and machine operations into the most effective combination of resources, allowing for the maximization of value-added content while minimizing waste throughout the process. A company has to keep processes in balance in order to meet customer demands in the most productive manner possible. The most efficient combination leads to process balance – for continual product flow.
As a result of this transition to Cellular manufacturing, parts movement is minimized – through the use of work cells or other efficiency methods. This helps to condense the production line, as a group of products that undergo the same process are placed into one area full of a collection of equipment and workstations.
The wait time between operations is also reduced, inventory is strategically limited and the use of lean production strategies helps to increase efficiency and quality.
The use of Cellular manufacturing has led to a number of proven results:
- Maximizing the value of each worker at a company
- Minimizing the movement of parts and inventory due to manufacturing cells
- A reduction of lead, cycle and waiting times
- Higher production and performance levels
- An opening of more floor space
- Cross-training of workers in multiple disciplines
- Improving company communications
- Providing more flexibility for production and scheduling
The DVIRC Continuous Improvement Team is nationally certified through the National Institute for Standards and Technology. This team is comprised of individuals with diverse and extensive professional, manufacturing and lean experience. The DVIRC relies on a systematic approach to the implementation of Cellular manufacturing techniques. With the help of a company’s production team, we identify the steps of the operation and map the process flow. Within this process, non value added steps are either reduced or removed to increase efficiency and eliminate waste.
After this initial assessment is done, and the value added steps are timed and studied, TAKT – a German term that means ‘pulse’ or ‘beat’ – time is established by measuring the demand and available productive time. The DVIRC team then groups the operations steps to match the TAKT time and identifies the number of necessary operations for the resulting process.
Once the team determines the TAKT time for the operation, they begin to design the workstation. This includes creating a workspace, components parts supply and tools necessary for the testing and assembly process. Team members do the entire layout and design of the operation, after which a pilot run is put through the cell to ensure that the new setup is as efficient as possible.
Time is tracked and the entire process is analyzed. The process is interactive, as operators will employ better methods and tooling.
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