How does a cellular layout contribute to lean production?

Companies continually seek ways to become more efficient and productive. Lean production helps make that happen. Lean production continually strives for improved efficiency and customer satisfaction. One component of lean production is cellular layout. Cellular layout refers to the way specific departments within a company are organized. An efficient layout plan, as C Tek explains, can improve a company’s performance and help to eliminate waste.

Understanding Lean Production

Lean production has the goal of eliminating waste by getting rid of activities and products that consume the most time and resources without adding the most value. There are many ways that a company can become more efficient, including improving its cellular layout.

What is a Cellular Layout?

A cellular layout is the physical organization within a company that improves workflow, efficiency, and production. This structure entails the creation of work cells, which are micro units of 3-12 workers. Each unit contains a certain number of machines and supplies. The goal is to have workers be able to access machinery and supplies on demand so that they don’t have to waste time sourcing the equipment or supplies they need to carry out their jobs. Depending on the size and needs of the company, a department can have as few as three employees and one machine, or up to a dozen employees and a half-dozen machines or more.

Cell Design

Along with having a certain number of employees and machines, cells have specific layouts that can improve their function and productivity. Some of the most typical layout models include:

  • U-Shaped
  • I-Shaped
  • L-Shaped
  • Comb and Spine

U-shaped cells are the most common cell formation. They also take up the least amount of space, which is a bonus for companies looking to maximize space on the assembly floor.

I-shaped cell designs are primarily used by businesses that have a long, narrow physical shape. They help to maximize efficiency by combining materials and processes closely together in the most efficient manner possible.

L-shaped cell designs are most commonly used by companies that work in square-shaped buildings. Similarly, their unique design maximizes access to resources and connects critical processes to improve efficiency and reduce waste. Most warehouses use an L-shaped layout.

Comb and spine layouts are optimal for companies that produce products likely to leave the assembly line, as they can deliver products to consumers faster than other types of cell configurations.

The Advantage of Cell Layouts

No matter what kind of cell layout a company uses, the design should have the overall end benefit of allowing each employee to work collectively with a team to complete the company’s mission of quality and timely product delivery. Cells can also share equipment to improve collaboration and ensure processes are carried out smoothly from one department to the next. In order to reduce waste and expedite productivity, some companies also have fewer pieces of equipment but use higher-quality machinery.

For questions or more details about the advantages of incorporating cellular layout plans into a lean production philosophy, contact C Tek today.