Streamline a process with a Line Balance

Posted: January 22nd, 2023

Lean Six Sigma organizations can streamline their operations to be more efficient and/or effective using lean manufacturing techniques. Lean focuses on minimizing batch size, work-in-process inventory, lead time, and bottlenecks. It utilizes pull scheduling systems to dictate the flow of products and services.

Line Balancing, also known as heijunka in Japanese, is a lean tool that helps with several of these issues at once by reorganizing operations and resources to match the Takt time established by the customer.

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You are working on an improvement project where there are three problems: the total cycle time (TCT) per unit is higher than the Takt time for some of the operations, there is some non-utilized resources waste visible at some of the production stations (station downtime), and there is transportation waste visible with people moving parts back and forth all over the place from station to station for the next operation. You will use line balancing to tackle all three of these problems.

Before you begin, be sure to review the following resources:

  • Line Balancing

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Download the Line Balancing template here.

Your Line Balancing document must include:

  • All 18 Operation Blocks Inside the Green Block
  • All 16 Operations Arranged in Chronological Order
  • No Resizing of Any Blocks (blocks have dimensions so any tampering will be evident)

SOLUTION

A line balance is a technique used to optimize the flow of work in a manufacturing or assembly process. It involves balancing the workload among different stations or workstations in a production line to ensure that no station is overburdened or underutilized. To streamline a process with a line balance, you can take the following steps:

  1. Identify the bottlenecks: Identify the stations or workstations that are causing delays or holdups in the production process. These are typically the stations where the workload is heaviest or the workers are busiest.
  2. Analyze the work content: Understand the work content of each station or workstation. Assess the time it takes to complete each task, the skills required, and the resources needed.
  3. Balance the workload: Rebalance the workload among the stations or workstations to ensure that no station is overburdened. This can be done by redistributing tasks, adjusting the number of workers at each station, or introducing automation where appropriate.
  4. Monitor performance: Monitor the performance of the production line after the line balance is implemented. Make adjustments as necessary to ensure that the line is running efficiently and effectively.

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