What is a Manufacturing Cell

A manufacturing cell is one option to consider when we are talking about the concept of work design.  The goal is always to eliminate waste.  Manufacturing cells do this by arranging a group of workstations or machines so a product can be processed progressively without having to wait for a batch to be completed and without additional handling between operations.

An ideal cell design is one that safely manufactures products continuously, one by one, defect free, based on customer demand.

Traditional Environments

In traditional manufacturing environments workers are often separated into departments or work areas. Inventory builds up between those work areas and waste is created moving product from department to department, usually spending some time in a warehouse waiting. People also waste movement traveling from department to department for information of material.

Problems are often hidden in the waste of overproduction and motion in this type of system,.  It is almost impossible to see flow of the product and there are conflicting signals for ahead or behind schedule, let alone what product should be produced next.

Designed Environments

A well design manufacturing cell has workers closely coupled.  They may not be standing close to each other, BUT their actions are all related to the continuous flow of material and information to the customer. There is less inventory and all of it is specifically designed to maintain flow and pace.

Product is moved only as it progresses through the process of valued added activities.  There is little to no waste moving in and out of warehouses or from department to department.  This type of a simple environment exposes problems in the moment and stops production to fix them.  And finally, one signal starts the flow of product.

Help your organization see the waste eliminated by well design manufacturing cells that flow the product from raw material to the customer without stopping.




Brian Mansure

Brian Mansure

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