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Flow Manufacturing
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Lean Manufacturing, Basics, Principles, Techniques

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1.  Creating Repetitiveness in a Hybrid Environment

The mixed model planning discussed in the previous section also pro­vides a tool for creating repetitiveness from lumpy demand in a hybrid environment.

2. Kanban Planning System

Figure 3, the MRP-driven pull system, shows a conceptual design of a kanban planning system for both hybrid and repetitive environments. The system determines kanban sizes and prints kanban cards and la­bels. In the repetitive environment all parts are treated as kanban parts. In the hybrid environment the component parts and intermediate level subassemblies are identified by the planning system as either kanban or unique items. All kanban items are planned and stocked at the con­suming work cell using a two-bin system. All unique items are stocked in the stores and kitted when required for work orders.

3.  Bill of Materials and Routing Restructuring for Kanbans

The bills of materials are usually flattened or a minimum number of assembly levels are used, depending upon the levels of feeders. A rout­ing operation sequence is attached to each component in a bill where it is consumed. For a multicount backflush process, the routing opera­tions are flagged for count points and work stations are assigned with inventory to backflush from.

4. Kanban Execution and Inventory Control

The kanban execution and control system is described in the following section along with the overall system execution and control processes.

Overall System Execution/Control

The execution system consists of the release of line schedules in the repetitive environment and work orders in the hybrid environment. The unique work orders for customer orders in the hybrid environment are processed in a similar method as traditional work orders except for the fact that only the unique components are kitted and transferred from stores to line inventory where they are consumed as an operation is re­ported complete. A kanban work order is initiated on the shop floor when a using cell consumes repetitive subassemblies from a bin. The kanban work order quantities are usually based upon small lot production. Ihe supplying cell manufactures the small-lot work orders and replenishes the kanban bin in the using cell. As lower-level kanban parts are con­sumed, they are replenished from the stores or the suppliers based upon the JIT pull system. The repetitive environment uses the same pull sys­tem except it does not use any work orders. With this approach the mul­tilevel bill of materials are replaced by fewer level bills, and the multi­level stocking, kitting, and issuing activities are eliminated for the re­petitive assemblies while these activities are limited only to the unique assemblies and components.

The control systems consist of multistores inventory control, stores and kanban cycle counts, customer order tracking, work cell input and output production tracking, production completions reporting integrated with backflush system, and performance measurement systems. The repetitive environment uses a wall-to-wall inventory or a two-stores inventory system while the hybrid environment uses a multistores in­ventory system. The visible schedule/status boards and metrics are used predominantly on the floor supported by the rate planning system.


Figure 4 shows the integration of flow manufacturing, ERP, JIT, and QM and their key functional interfaces. The key initiatives that create the QM infrastructure for ERP/JIT to successfully operate and satisfy customer requirements in both environments consists of total employee involvement (TEI), quality at the source, process-oriented teams trained on problem-solving and quality improvement process, trained and cer­tified workers and each focus factory operation managed by cross-func­tional teams and workcell teams empowered to manage their own pro­cesses and schedules.

To Be Continued


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