Optimizing the Work Station

by Andrew Guytingco on July 05, 2017

One of the simplest improvements to Lean Manufacturing at the line side to increase productivity requires a modification of the packaging to a smaller size and optimizing how it’s delivered. 

Implementing new Lean Manufacturing principles to the logistics of material flow eliminated Muda and improves can improve production considerably. By optimizing compressing the line side space, the most taxing Mudas for production are reduced: the Mudas caused by unnecessary motion and waiting. Below we see a conventional production system consisting of heavy stock being transported from warehouse racking to the production line in bulky containers with dangerous forklift traffic.

Source: Vision-Lean

  1. Muda of inventory: considerable capital tied up in warehouses. Large amounts of stock on the line side, low stock rotation.
  2. Large areas occupied on the line side by the stock, generating the mudas of waiting and motion.
  3. Muda of transport: high cost of the lift truck and its maintenance.

Optimizing the Workstation: Improving Material Flow

Source: Vision-Lean 

  1. With Ecoflex; pallets, ro-packs and large containers are replaced with a small box/tote model: setting up modular JIT marketplace stocks as close to the production line as possible.
  2. Supplying the line by carts and trolleys driven by small trains making frequent deliveries. Eliminate dangerous and expensive forklift traffic.

The main advantage of a small box/tote system in place of large containers: improved logistic productivity. Expensive-to-run lift trucks are replaced by small trains circulating between marketplace racking and the line side flow racks.

Switching to small containers: A necessary step

Switching to small boxes and totes facilitates space compression. Doing so makes it easier to set up production of several models on the same line, since all parts can be positioned line side, in sequence and in small batches in a reduced space. As a result, in-process materials, stocks and delivery times are all reduced, creating a standardized work - The right step towards Lean Manufacturing.

Value added at the point of production

The new workstation optimization contributes to improving material flow and line side productivity. The elimination of waste and setting up of pulled flows for production results in the elimination of other mudas, especially the mudas of over-production, inventory, processing, waiting and transport.


IPS Material Handling Inc was established in 2006 and specializes in custom material handling solutions for Lean Manufacturing. Our Ecoflex products, a modular pipe and joint system, are used to create custom flow racks, material handling carts, work stations and more.


For more information, to request a quote or to set up an in-house assessment, please contact us.