Cellular Manufacturing - Work Cells
or Manufacturing Cells
vs. "Assembly Line", a better use of space
and other resources
Cellular Manufacturing is perhaps one of the most shocking changes some plants will ever experience. It is about changing not only our mindsets, but also the physical arrangement or layout of the plant. Although it may seem quite complex, it is not. All these changes will have to do with the new idea of "Single Piece Flow" which is essential to a good Lean Manufacturing environment. Work cells are such a good strategy because they encourage team work and cross training. The communication among the cell members is easy and they are close to each other, in order to prevent errors from passing through. The traveling distances of people and products in process is the shortest possible. It is much easier to balance the operation so that each operator gets a fair, even work load. This will help implement a reliable process to comply with the "Takt Time" of each product.
Lots of new terms, though. This aspect of Lean Implementation is thoroughly explained in Standard and Davis' book: Running Today's Factory that you will find marked with 5 stars in our Book Store.
We are aware of the natural rejection to change. We actually live off of it. After a few implementations in your plant, though, you will start feeling different. You and all the other key people in the plant will start feeling more confident and open to change. Cellular Manufacturing and Plant Re - mapping are less dramatic than they may seem and once implemented the improvement is for good!
When implementing Work Cells redefinitions we also achieve waste reductions in terms of time, travel, and most importantly: Inventory. There is no doubt Inventory Reduction is key to big savings.