After mapping out your value streams, you are ready to setup continuous flow manufacturing cells. Most cells that have been set up in the past ten years do not have continuous flow; most changes to cells have been a layout change only. That is, machines were moved in a cellular arrangement and nothing more was changed. It should be noted that change in layout alone does not create continuous flow.
The following are seven steps to creating continuous flow manufacturing cells:
For product focused cells to work correctly, demand needs to be high enough for an individual product. For mixed model or group technology cells to work, changeover times must be kept short.
Takt time, sometimes mistaken for cycle time, isn't dependent on your productivity- it is a measure of customer demand expressed in units of time.
In much detail, document all of the actual work that goes into making one unit. Time each element separately several times and use the lowest repeatable time. Do not include wasteful elements such as walking and waiting time.
Using a spreadsheet, determine if each piece of equipment that will be required for the cell you are setting up is capable of meeting takt time.
More than likely, you will have more than one person working in your cell (this depends on takt time); however, you should arrange the cell such that one person can do it thereby ensuring that the least possible space is consumed. Less space translates to less walking, movement of parts, and waste. U-shaped cells are generally best; however, if this is impossible due to factory floor limitations, other shapes will do.
This involves determining how many operators are needed to meet takt time.
There are several approaches. Some include: Splitting the work evenly between operators. Having one operator perform all the elements to make a complete circuit of the cell in the direction of material flow. Reversing the above. Combinations of the above.
After you’ve determined the above 7 elements, you will have gathered much of the necessary data required to begin drawing and laying out your continuous flow manufacturing cell.
Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations.
You can reach him here.