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Apply Balancing Tools

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Incorporate any (or all) of these tools into your design in order to balance your line before moving on to the next phase.

Evaluate Line Balance

Assess the workstation’s ability to work within Takt time. This is a static assessment, so it is based primarily on work content distribution. When live look for indicators of imbalance: WIP piling up, bottlenecks, constraints, idle operators, poor volume and throughput.

Apply Balancing Tools

Study the balancing tools and begin their application in the recommended order. For each instance of imbalance, analyze possible causes, and apply one or more appropriate line balancing tools.

Eliminate Waste

Identify and eliminate tasks assigned to the workstation you are reviewing tagged as NVA in the SWDs. Apply the Kaizen methodology to eliminate or minimize those tasks. When you have exhausted all NVA opportunities (within reason), move to the next Balancing tool.

Relocate Work

Review the assigned work content looking for divisible work that can be distributed to other workstations to achieve balance. Focus on labor tasks. Use input from operators and supervisors. When live, observe the imbalanced stations and wait for learning curve to level out. When you have exhausted all opportunities with NVA and relocation of work move to the next two tools in parallel.

Add Resources

Identify workstations where indivisible work is causing the station to be out of balance. This may be solved with the addition of resources, either additional workstations (normally in parallel) or additional machines. Calculate investment in new process resources. May be required by process variability or capacity needs. After this evaluation is completed, move to the next tool and save the information for comparison.

Add-in Process KANBANS (IPKs)

Revisit your initial assessment of quantity and location of In-Process Kanbans. This will be better researched when you run a dynamic simulation model of your line.

Add Inventory And/Or Time

Calculate the required number of In-Process Kanbans and the additional work time necessary to bring the imbalanced workstation within Takt. Calculate the financial investment of the additional units of WIP and the additional work time and compare to the investment in additional resources from the 1.5.1.3.C tool.

Introduce Sequencing

Develop the sequencing rules based on your design specific characteristics. Define if the Planner will sequence by work content, paint color, packaging needs, customer orders, shipping location, etc. Sequencing smooths the line’s flow, helps avoid jamming and starving workstations.

Implement Balancing Tools

Create an initial deployment plan and a data set for your dynamic simulation model, where you will define and test balancing in real time. Following implementation, observe and confirm improvements. Monitor, adjust and fine-tune the Lean Line’s balance, flow and throughput.