Strategos Lean Briefing

The Newsletter of Lean Manufacturing Strategy
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August 5, 2003             

Kaizen for Workcells

Many firms use Kaizen Events to layout their facility for Lean Manufacturing. While the Blitz is often a good approach to workcells, it only addresses layout at the micro-level. At some point, you face larger issues such as:

  • How buildings and other features should fit on the site.

  • Which factories build which products.

  • Which processes/products fit workcells and which need functional areas.

  • Why Group Technology helps form part families for workcells.

  • How scheduling, storage, teamwork and other elements integrate with facilities in a comprehensive Manufacturing Strategy.

Resolution of these larger issues does not fit the Kaizen Blitz approach. For the most part, they require experience, extensive analysis and thoughtful reflection. Moreover, the information and complexity of a major facility project can overwhelm an inexperienced team. Our web page series on Facility Planning can help. It offers a structured, rationalized and comprehensive approach. The topics include:

  • Using the Fundamental Elements for better layouts.

  • How " Levels of Detail" simplify planning.

  • Structuring your plant layout planning project.

  • Where Kaizen fits in the facility planning picture.

These pages derive from my two books on Facility Planning and many years of experience. This structured approach takes plant layout from the realm of mystery and magic to a defined and orderly work process.

Our next issue, "Decoding The DNA of the Toyota Production System," examines the cultural characteristics that led to Toyota's success. See you then.

Quarterman Lee

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Books & Videos

Guide to Cycle Counting

Warehouse Planning Guide

Human Side of Lean Video