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Lean Tools

What is Cellular Workspace?

cell

Cellular workcells are at the heart of Lean. Their benefits are many and varied. They increase productivity and quality. Cells simplify material flow, management and even accounting systems.

Cellular Manufacturing seems simple. But beneath this deceptive simplicity are sophisticated Socio-Technical Systems. Proper functioning depends on subtle interactions of people and equipment. Each element must fit with the others in a smoothly functioning, self-regulating and self-improving operation.

What is a Workcell?

A workcell is a work unit larger than an individual machine or workstation but smaller than the usual department. Typically, it has 3-12 people and 5-15 workstations in a compact arrangement.

An ideal cell manufactures a narrow range of highly similar products. Such an ideal cell is self-contained with all necessary equipment and resources.

Cellular layouts organize departments around a product or a narrow range of similar products. Materials sit in an initial queue when they enter the department.

Once processing begins, they move directly from process to process (or sit in mini-queues). The result is very fast throughput. Communication is easy since every operator is close to the others. This improves quality and coordination. Proximity and a common mission enhance teamwork.

Simplicity is an underlying theme throughout cellular design. Notice the simplicity of material flow. Scheduling, supervision and many other elements also reflect this underlying simplicity.

The Benefits of Cells

In the functional configuration, departmental organization is by function (or process). Since each product requires all (or most) processes, it travels to every department. In each department, it sits in queue waiting for processing. Ten process steps require ten queues and ten waits. Travel distances are long, communication is difficult and coordination is messy.

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G.R. Technologies 
75 Allingham Gdns 
North York, Ontario
M3H 1X9

E-mail: info@grt77.com
Tel: (905) 597-9277
Fax: (416) 638-4866

 

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