Resource: About Cellular Manufacturing, Benefits, & 4 Dimensions of Cells
About Cellular Manufacturing
• Cellular manufacturing consists of a series of product‐focused work groups ‐‐ cells ‐‐ which house all operations to manufacture a family of products.
The cell is dedicated to manufacturing those products requiring similar operations. While a traditional manufacturing environment is organized functionally with similar machines in one area (for example, all molding machines in the Molding Dept.), cellular manufacturing operates like a series of plants‐within‐aplant, each starting with raw materials and ending with finished product, with all operations being performed in the cell.
• Machines in manufacturing cells are located within close proximity to minimize product transportation (a form of manufacturing waste) and to maintain continuous flow with zero inventory between operations.
The manufacturing cell is operated by a team of empowered, multi‐skilled operators who have complete responsibility for quality and delivery performance within the cell.
Benefits of Cellular Manufacturing
• Cells shorten the distance a part or product has to move.
This reduces materials handling costs, allows quicker feedback on potential quality problems, reduces Work‐In‐ Process inventories, permits easier scheduling, and reduces throughput time.
• Cells organize the locating of materials at the point of use. This makes it easy to see the work ahead.
• Cell teams better understand the whole process of making parts/assemblies.
• Cell members feel responsibility to a small group, rather than to an impersonal company. Understandable, logical participation leads to a feeling of empowerment.
4 Dimensions of Cells
– Operators are cross‐trained on support as well as manufacturing equipment. Leaders and facilitators encourage teamwork, in a professional and fair manner. They also post a matrix of
skill requirements, matched with cell operators‘ capabilities and schedules. In addition, Standard Work Instructions are prominently displayed.
– Materials management practices reduce work‐in‐process buffers. Material flow in the cell is streamlined to minimize travel distances, and team members take full responsibility for quality
– The layout of the cell arranges equipment to be immediately adjacent, permitting smooth material flow with minimum buffers. Utilities effectively support the equipment, with emphasis on conserving resources.
– Procedures associated with the cell help eliminate waste. The most apparent waste is defective parts, so quality procedures detect (and minimize) any potential errors. Cell
operators participate in product design improvements, as well as process improvements.Equipment operators perform routine maintenance, as well as housekeeping for their respective areas. Time is not wasted on excessive reports.