The MPE Degree

Using Cellular Manufacturing for Responsiveness

Using Cellular Manufacturing for Responsiveness

In a previous post, we discussed how incorporating Lean Processing in product development would add value to your customer. Lean manufacturing is a business model and collection of tactical methods that emphasize eliminating non-value added activities (waste) while delivering quality products on time at least cost with greater efficiency.

These days, most manufacturing companies are implementing Lean principles to improve their work flow. Every company wants to exceed their customers’ expectations by delivering product more efficiently and less costly; while creating the least amount of waste. There are multiple ways to be lean, although some practices are not as sustainable. Fortunately, Cellular Manufacturing is a Lean Manufacturing process that will be sustainable within your company’s Lean Manufacturing practices.

What is Cellular Manufacturing?

Cellular Manufacturing is a type of organization that consists of multiple cells in one assembly line, with press brakes and inserting machines arranged next to one another. The cells are arranged closely together, allowing for short travel distance and increased flow production.

This cellular arrangement supports one piece flow production – where only one unit is worked on at a time, from start to finish. With this method, parts are worked on separately rather than batches, creating less waste with improved quality and fewer defects. Cellular Manufacturing is used to reduce time and waste of “C” level parts – parts that laser form and bend. These parts do not go into a medical cart assembly; for example brackets or silk screened control panels.

The operators in this cell are cross trained, meaning they are able to operate both machines. Being able to insert and form at the same time reduces costs and saves on efficiency and productivity.

Read: An Introspective Approach to Improve Business Operations

Our Process

Before utilizing Cellular Manufacturing, the “C” level parts would sit in queue for the inserting department for, on average, one day before they would be worked on. When the equipment was not laid out in a cellular fashion and operators were not cross trained, batches of parts would be queued in between machines. This often resulted in longer lead times to the customer.

Customers’ demands for shorter lead times of the “C” level parts drove MPE to review our processes and come up with a better method of production that would yield quicker deliveries. We wanted to ensure these “C” level parts were meeting customers’ expectations by getting these parts to them on time. The demand for these parts was even higher than the demand from our high level assembly customers.

Cellular Manufacturing Benefits

It was a priority to meet our customers’ requests and give them the most value in their product. C Cell organization has reduced the lead time of the parts by one whole day, therefore getting to our customers one day earlier.

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