Plant Layout

Today, more and more manufacturers are embracing lean manufacturing concepts as a way to improve processes and increase profits. Lean concepts, including continuous improvement, pull manufacturing, value-stream mapping, and Just-in-Time inventory help to lower cycle times, reduce waste, and increase productivity. While there are many opportunities to benefit from the principles of lean, redesigning the layout of the facility according to lean concepts is critical to the implementation.

The goal of a lean plant layout is to deliver high-quality, low-cost goods quickly, while maintaining the flexibility necessary to respond to changes in the marketplace. Significant benefits of a lean plant design include the following:

  • Reduction of throughput time, cycle time, and lead-time
  • Increased capacity and use
  • Reduction in costs for inventory, space, and capital equipment
  • Decrease in lost-time accidents
  • Plant layout

Push Versus Pull Manufacturing

Traditional manufacturing bases production schedules on forecasting, pushing products through the facility.

In contrast, a lean plant produces goods based on customer orders, pulling products through the system. Designed for product flow, a series of production cells are set up and each group of cells manufactures products with similar processes, making better use of space, lowering inventory, and reducing waste. These work cells feature interchangeable machines and equipment, with parts and equipment centrally located for easy access. This configuration reduces set-up times, decreases non-value added movements, and increases flexibility for plant reconfiguration when responding to changing market demands.

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