We’ve all been taught that the more widgets you produce in the same batch the cheaper they will be. Well, it’s time to disprove this myth.
On the one hand, I could be making one of something with my bare hands and spending 3 months whittling and polishing it to perfection. Or else, I can make a widget that comes off a production line at 300 pieces an hour. You can make good money both ways so let’s not start with the preconceived notion that bigger or more is better.
For any given size of a production lot, whether your stuffing hand painted postcards in envelopes or making high-end furniture, there are two generally accepted methods for moving products in a factory; batch processing or one piece flow.
Batch Processing: You set up a machine or a process and process a given number of parts until the start pile is finished. Then you take the pile of parts to the next operation for further processing.
One Piece Flow: You take one workpiece at a time through all the operations until you have a finished product before starting the next piece.
When factory owners hear the word “One” is when they usually shut the blinders. The key is not to think about “one-piece” in the literal sense of the words. You still want to optimize your resources and you’re certainly not going to do a 45-minute setup on a molder only to pass one stick of wood through it. The long-term goal here is to get your work to flow, to balance your production line, to reduce your setup time and to eliminate waste.
Take a few minutes and watch this video and be prepared to have your mind blown, then let’s continue our conversation. Jeremy Sullivan’s video walks us through the concept of One Piece Flow in a simple to understand way: https://youtu.be/ciJckWCMvpA
Now that the concept of One Piece Flow is really clear, the objections might still linger but even though the video shows a very simple scenario and your production is a lot more sophisticated, remember that lots of industries are using this concept successfully from medical services to aeronautical engineering and yes, woodworking too. People have shortened their lead times, increased quality, reduced space, lowered inventory, improved cash flow and made more profits while taking on more orders and delivering to their clients faster after having implemented some form of One Piece Flow in their production process.
Both our goals are the same, to help you sell more wood products better so: Go with One-Piece Flow and Make More.