Dynamic analysis of a lean cell under uncertainty

Deif A.M.

One of the ultimate targets of lean manufacturing paradigm is to balance production and produce at takt time in production cells. This paper investigates the performance of a lean cell that implements the previous lean goals under uncertainty. The investigation is based on a system dynamics approach to model a dynamic lean cell. Backlog is used as a performance metric that reflects the cell's responsiveness. The cell performance is compared under certain and uncertain external (demand) and internal (machine availability) conditions. Results showed that although lean cell is expected to be responsive to external demand with minimum waste, however, this was not the case under the considered uncertain conditions. The paper proposes an approach to mitigate this problem through employing dynamic capacity policy. Furthermore, the paper explores the effect of the delay associated with the proposed capacity policies and how they affect the lean cell performance. Finally, various recommendations are presented to better manage the dynamics of lean manufacturing systems. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.