Create flow - Learn to be efficient

Create flow - Learn to be efficient

We return to the theme of Flow in Production, started in the previous article, with the purpose of explaining the sequence of steps in this process. In this article, we present the methodology associated to Line Design and Layout Design.


It is common to find innumerable inefficiencies in the production processes of the organisations in which we assist the work in functional layouts and with production in large batches. The result is constant movements for replenishment of jobs, successive repackings, lack of mutual aid in the line layout, large intermediate stock quantities and batch product rejections.


To answer this problem the KAIZEN™ methodology introduces the concept of a process in a continuous flow. A flow layout is characterized by a piece-by-piece production with a speed that accompanies takt time, thus avoiding the creation of unnecessary stocks between operations and jobs. In addition, the operators should be as close as possible, allowing the monitoring of the work of the colleague - previous or later - motivating the mutual aid between tasks, whenever appropriate.


After defining the layout it is necessary to work on reducing the waste in transport and movements. Line Board (BL) is defined as a supermarket that provides operators with a front (preferably) supply and in small quantities. It ensures that the components available are only those required for the product to be manufactured, allowing the operator to avoid displacements, a reduction in search time and consequently an increase in the efficiency of the operation. This solution also brings ergonomic benefits with the adaptation of the space to the needs of the employee and easy access to all materials. The internal logistics will ensure the supply of BL in pre-defined cycles and quantities, integrating a waste concentrator in the process.


These methodologies were born in Japan and were extensively explored in the factories of Toyota, Kawasaki and others. Layouts evolved from a functional format, with 1 or more operators on each machine isolated for flow layouts in which the operators are arranged in multiple cells intentionally designed to allow the adaptation of the manpower to the desired takt (shojinka) and the operators’ mutual aid.


Efficiency is the key word for increased productivity in any area. Streamlining the tasks in each process and making the workplace organised and flowing, by itself, generate tangible results in an organisation.

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