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Design and Application of Kanban Control Systems in a Multi-stage, Mixed Model Assembly Line, Systems Eng Theory and

Practice, Sept 2009

Cellular manufacturing (CM) is now an established international practice to integrate: equipment, people, and systems into `focused factories', `mini-businesses' or `cells' with clear customers, responsibilities and boundaries. The major elements in exploiting the benefits of CM is efficient layout designs. This paper presents the application of recently developed multi-objective inter- and intra-cell layout designs methodologies in a CM environment by the author to a dynamic food manufacturing and packaging company in Australia. Some of the problems expressed by the company were large and unnecessary volume of shop floor material handling cost, difficulties and confusion over production planning, long products lead times resulting in losing customers and high overhead costs. Furthermore the company was deeply concerned about the increasing number of accidents and injuries on the shop floor caused by poor layout of machinery and the lack of proper aisle structures for movement of the lift-trucks. This paper shows the process of developing the final inter-cell layout designs by providing the management with multiple layout configurations and showing the impact of each design on the material handling cost at each stage. These solutions not only provide a safer shop floor but also significant reductions in material handling cost, waste, need for large capital investment and the number of lift-trucks needed on the shop floor.