1st Edition

The Basics of Self-Balancing Processes True Lean Continuous Flow

By Gordon Ghirann Copyright 2012
    108 Pages 74 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    108 Pages
    by Productivity Press

    Self-Balancing is not just a tweak or change to assembly line balancing, but a completely transformed method for achieving continuous flow. Among the reasons you should try Self-Balancing is that you can expect a productivity improvement of at least 30 percent—with improvements of 50-60 percent quite common.

    Using a well-tested method for successful improvements initiated by the author, The Basics of Self-Balancing Processes: True Lean Continuous Flow is the first book to explain how to achieve continuous flow in both simple and complex manufacturing environments. It describes how to recognize and resolve weak links to ensure continuous flow in your manufacturing operations.

    The book offers rules, tools, and guidelines to help you not only solve problems at the root, but even eliminate them before they start. It reviews the shortcomings of traditional assembly line balancing and walks readers through the new paradigm of Self-Balancing.

    The text includes a comprehensive overview that demonstrates the power, flexibility, and breakthroughs possible with this method. Offering solutions to the shortcomings associated with standard line balancing—including inventory buffers, variation, and operator pace—it provides you with the tools and understanding required to deal with batch and off-line processes, debug your line, arrange your parts and tools, and design your own Self-Balanced cells.

    Watch Gordon Ghirann discuss how his book can increase the productivity of your business.


    Conventional Assembly Line Balancing
    Paced Lines
    Manual Assembly Lines
    Level Loading

    Shortcomings of Level Loading
    Artificially Balanced
         WIP Buffers
         Slowest Operator/Station Sets the Pace
         Variations in Yield and Cycle Time
         Absent Operators
         Inflexible, Difficult-to-Adjust Output
         Silo Mentality
         Repetitive and Monotonous Work for the Line Workers
         Moving Beyond Level Loading

    A New Paradigm
    Conditions for Continuous Flow
         Rules to Standardize Self-Balancing
              Rule 1: Keep Building Progressively Until Someone Pulls from You
              Rule 2: When the Downstream Operator Pulls from You, Walk Upstream to the Next Operator and Pull from Them
              Rule 3: If You Catch Up to Someone When Moving Downstream, Wait
              Rule 4: Don’t Leapfrog; Everyone Stays in Their Position
              Rule 5: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
    Dealing with Fumbles
    Standard Conditions for a Fumble
         Nonstandard Conditions for a Fumble
         Fumble Rules
              Rule 1: Encountering a Fumble When Moving Upstream
              Rule 2: Encountering a Fumble When Moving Downstream
              Rule 3: Returning to a Fumble

    Batch and Off-Line Processing
    Curtain Operations
    In/Out Tray
    Guidelines and Rules for Backbench Operations
         Rule 1: Frontline Operators Leave the Line to Perform Backbench Operations on Demand
         Rule 2: Operators Communicate When Leaving for the Backbench
         Rule 3: Reenter the Frontline in the Same Position
    Types of Loading and Unloading

    Subassembly Feeder Lines
    Rules for Self-Balancing Subassembly Feeder Lines
         Rule 1: Going Down the River
         Rule 2: Going Up the River
    Rules for Subassembly Feeder Line Operators
         Rule 1: When Frontline and Feeder Line Are Synchronized
         Rule 2: Encountering a Fumbled Subassembly

    Debugging the Line
    Standard Work
    SWIP Inventory
         SWIP Increasing
         SWIP Decreasing
    Additional Debugging

    Horizontal Arrangement of Parts and Tools
    Benefits and Potential Disadvantages of Horizontal Part and Tool Presentation
    Additional Rows of Parts for Mixed-Model Lines
    Quick Product Changeover of a Cell

    Cell Designs
    Cell Design Considerations
         Walking Distance
         Part-Travel Distance
    Cell Layouts
         Basic Cell Shapes
         Cells with Off-Line Processing
    Station Setup
         Right-Sized Stations
         Vertical Space
         Standing Height
         Standing Surface




    Gordon Ghirann

    Instead of explaining merely the typical approach that seeks to balance the work and operates strictly according to takt time, Gordon’s method takes advantage of the ‘human element’ and releases the full potential of the employees. … Self-Balancing surfaces barriers to flow and provides a framework for the supporting management support system. …Until now, there was no source for this powerful concept outside of some limited research on the web. Gordon, however, has probably experimented more with Self-Balancing than anyone else, so I’m very excited that he has finally brought this powerful concept to you.
    —Kirk Paluska, Lean Transformations Group