Strategos Lean Briefing

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October 2,  2003                       www.strategosinc.com

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

q@strategosinc.com

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