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How do I lay out production facilities for 'Just-in-Time Manufacture'?


Frequently Asked Questions

Concepts that support a layout of production facilities, suitable for JIT, include:

  • machines on wheels (whenever possible and as a matter of policy)
  • small machines
  • 'line-side' parts delivery (once acceptable supplier quality has been achieved). This avoids double handling and double storage space and is made easier by having multiple access points around the building).
  • use of gravity feeds (encourages single-piece flow and is made possible when distances are short).

Line balancing is achieved and improved little by little with the aid of the 'demand- pull' system and visibility rather than by historical mathematical optimisation. The demand-pull system highlights idleness through imbalance, allowing corrections to be made whenever required. Line balance with JIT should aim at compatibility with demand rate and worker flexibility and is often done by teams themselves rather than by industrial engineers.

For more information, please contact us.


Bicheno, J., Cause and Effect JIT: The Essentials of Lean Manufacturing, 2nd Edition, PICSIE Books, Buckingham, England, 1994 (ISBN 0 9513829 5 0)

Copyright by TWI, 1999

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