One Piece Flow is one of the key elements with which an organization can become lean. To think of processing one unit at a time usually sends a shudder through the organization which has batch manufacturing as its life blood. The word “one” does not mean one in the literal sense but in terms of customers’ requirements. In this sense, it means that the organization only process what the customer wants, in the quantity he wants and when he wants it.
One piece flow is simply a methodology for manufacturing components in a cellular environment (an area where everything that is needed to process the part is within easy reach, and no part is allowed to go to the next operation until the previous operation has been completed).
The goal of one piece flow is to make one part at a time correctly all the time without unplanned interruptions and lengthy queue times.
While One-piece flow describes the sequence of product or of transactional activities through a process one unit at a time, batch processing creates a large number of products on a large number of transactions at one time – sending them together as a group through each operational step. The focus of One-piece flow is on employees’ efforts on the manufacturing process itself rather than on waiting, transporting products, and storing inventory.
It enables the production process flow smoothly, creating a steady work-flow for all employees involved. One-piece flow methods best functions with short changeover times and in a pull system environment.
There following are some advantages of incorporating one piece flow method into work processes:
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.
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