TXM Lean Minute – Balancing Workflow for Level Production


Lean manufacturing aims for level production, where the throughput of each process step is balanced to match the rate of customer demand or takt time. Level production enables businesses to dramatically reduce lead times and work in progress and increase productivity. In this lean minute video, Tim McLean explains how to balance processes and achieve level production in a machine shop.

Learn More About Level Production and Creating a Visual Workflow from our Lean Minute Video

Learn How to Level Production to Takt time from our Lean Minute Video

Read More About How Level Production Can Help you Reduce Expediting in your Business

Read the Video Transcript

When you have a complex process like this one, which involves a mixture of manual, machining and batch tasks, keeping a steady flow of work and short lead times is difficult.

Hi, I’m Tim McLean. Welcome to this TXM Lean minute,

The key to streamlining production flow is to balance the processes so that workflows through each step at a steady rate that meets your customer demand or takt time.

The challenge is that machines are all designed to work at different rates and often with different batch sizes. Some machines are fast and some processes (especially manual processes) are slow. So how do you stop the fast processes rushing ahead and the slow processes falling behind?

If you don’t address imbalances in your processes the result can be large backlogs, long lead times and lots of expediting and frustration.

Balancing processes first requires understanding the rate of customer demand, or takt time. Even if your machine can run much faster than Takt time, it is important that you only produce to meet the takt time in order to prevent over-production.

A value stream map can help you see the whole flow and work out your takt time and how to achieve balance.

Visual controls such as these simple planning boards or this FIFO area enable you to monitor at a glance how your product is flowing and to act quickly when work builds up.

By balancing the flow you can usually reduce work in progress and lead time by more than 50%. This will reduce expediting, improve customer service and actually increase productivity.

So ask the team at TXM how to use a value stream map to understand your production flow and achieve balanced level production through your factory.

I’m Tim McLean.

Thank you for watching this TXM Lean Minute.