What Is Level Production?
Level Production – Smoothing demand
The purpose of Level Production is to even output flow of product to enable inventory reduction and balancing of resources.
Building in large batches causes lumpy flow in the process, driving the operation to carry larger inventories and work in process and ultimately sucks resource into shuttling material from one staging post to another. In other words, it drives waste into the business and requires operations to man up excessively to manage the unevenness.
Striving to build in smaller batches, with the ultimate goal being able to produce one piece at a time, exposes the wastes in the value stream and its inherent bottlenecks or weaknesses. Batching is a comfort blanket that covers over the problems and shields leadership from having to address the weaknesses.
It is not an easy undertaking to level production as many stakeholders will find it an uncomfortable journey in the early stages. However, with the right leadership mindset, smoothing the flow of production can be a rewarding journey for those involved.
A measure of success with Level Production is the time it takes for a product to move from the beginning of the value stream to the end, the process lead time. The more the value stream reduces batching, the faster the product will flow, the more responsive the organisation becomes to meeting customer requirements.
- Eliminates poor batching
- Brings agility to the operation in meeting market changes
- Exposes poorly balanced resource
- Reduces process lead time
- Improved cash flow
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This page was written by Bob Newton in February 2018.
Due for review in 2019.