Strategos Lean Briefing

The Newsletter of Lean Manufacturing Strategy
Drop Down Menu

October 2,  2003             

Group Technology Workcells are Different!

Taming The Variety Beast

Our last issue explored the discipline of Group Technology (GT). We saw how it forms rationalized part families even in complex product mixes having thousands of parts. Here, we extend that discussion to the workcells for GT families.

Many of the rules and procedures for workcells that originated at Toyota do not fit the GT situation. They were developed by pragmatists (Ohno and Shingo) specifically for Toyota's business. Now, the Toyota  approach seems to have evolved into a "One size fits all" manufacturing dogma.

The complexity of GT families demands different approaches. The results are also quite different than the simple Toyota workcells common in high-volume, low-variety production like the automotive industry. The differences show up in:

  • Workflow

  • Process Technology

  • Batch Sizing

  • Transfer Batch

  • Layout

Our new web page, "GT Workcells are Different", expands on this topic. It also links to other pages on Cellular Manufacturing. In these pages you will find examples of GT workcells and more discussion on workcell design.

Our next issue will go out around St. Crispin's day. This is an appropriate time for the topic of Leadership and Shakespeare has much to say about it. See you then.

Quarterman Lee

Please feel free to forward this Lean Briefing to colleagues or use it in your publication. We only ask that you do so in its entirety.

Lean Briefing Archive Issues

Drop Down Menu

Strategos, Inc.

 3916 Wyandotte - Kansas City MO 64111

 816-931-1414 -

The Strategos Guide To Value Stream and Process Mapping goes  beyond symbols and arrows. In over 163 pages it tells the reader not only how to do it but what to do with it.


Lean Briefing is only sent to those who subscribe or those who download from the Strategos website.

Books & Videos

Guide to Cycle Counting

Warehouse Planning Guide

Human Side of Lean Video