5 Aspects to consider before creating an efficient cell layout

According to Lean Philosophy “Something that does not change the physical or chemical characteristics of the product is a waste”.

An efficient cell should be able to avoid the wastes in production process. Before creating a cell layout, the following five aspects are to be considered for creating an efficient cell.

  1. Transportation
  2. Inventory
  3. Motion
  4. Safety & Ergonomics
  5. Maintainability

Let’s see the ways to consider the aspects below.

  1. Transportation:

Transportation is any unnecessary movement of materials from one place to another. This is considered as a waste since it does not change the product physically or chemically, meeting the customer requirement. So any unwanted transportation in a cell is to be avoided.

To avoid transportation of Operator

  • Keep the machines closer so that the movement of the operator is less
  • Create a walking path without any obstacles in the cell for the operator
  • It is better if the Internal width is kept around 5 feet
  • Locate the start and final processes near one another – Like a U cell, to reduce operator movement and which helps to maintain the line pace
  1. Inventory:

Stock tied up in work in progress (WIP) or finished goods has a cost and it locks your capital. In addition to the pure cost of your inventory it adds many other costs; inventory needs space, packaging, transportation and defects in transit. Below are some of the ways to reduce it.

To reduce the inventory in the cell

  • Create a cell layout that do not encourage the accumulation of inventory – do not provide space or surface for inventory accumulation
  • Try to avoid racks or bins that leads to accumulation of inventory in between processes
  1. Motion: 

Any unnecessary motion of people that does not add value to the product is a waste. All of these wasteful motions cost you time (money) and cause stress on your employees and machines. The motion of Operators is to be minimised 

To minimise the motion of the operators

  • Even work height at point of use and Work surface helps in reducing the operator motion
  • Design a layout so that the workpieces can be transferred horizontally (side movement) so that the operator motion (Up-and-Down and Front to Back) is avoided
  • Whenever possible, make use of gravity to assist operators for workpiece movement to reduce the Operator motion
  1. Safety & Ergonomics:

 A poor ergonomics is undesirable from a human standpoint and contributes to waste. A safe and good ergonomic workplace improves productivity and reduces the cost.

To provide a safe & Ergonomic work environment

  • A cell should be created ensuring all sort of safety measures for an operator.
  • Keep operator-based works close together to allow flexible work element distribution
  • Keep hand tools as close as to the point of use and orient them in the direction of the use
  • Use dedicated tools instead of tools that require bit changes and combine two or more tools wherever possible
  1. Maintainability:

After commissioning of a cell, maintainability of a cell/ station is very important aspect for the reliability of a cell. A poorly designed cell for maintainability results in high downtime.

To create a maintainable cell

  • Provide adequate space around the machine for regular inspection and cleaning
  • Keep the machines at a distance so that, during a service/repair other machines/ station need not be disturbed.

For further assistance in creating an efficient cell, Contact us at Hash Management services LLP

Source: Creating continuous flow by Mike Rother and Rick Harris