What is 'Manufacturing Cells'

Manufacturing cells are sets of machines that are grouped by the products or parts they produce in a lean manufacturing environment. This system is used in the cellular manufacturing concept, which is distinct from the traditional functional manufacturing system in which all similar machines are grouped together. The use of manufacturing cells improves material flow and is especially suited for batch production, even in relatively low volumes.

BREAKING DOWN 'Manufacturing Cells'

One of the challenges of implementing a cellular manufacturing system is the actual establishment of manufacturing cells. If the same machines are required in different cells, it may result in higher capital requirements. However, the benefits of manufacturing cells, such as higher productivity, better responsiveness to market conditions and the ability to produce customized goods in small volumes, more than offset these drawbacks.

Implementing cellular manufacturing has proven itself as a way of reducing product costs, while improving lead times and quality. Cells have prospered because they work, and they work in almost any type of manufacturing environment. One reason cells are successful is that they often eliminate many of the wastes inherent in a typical manufacturing operation. Let’s look at some of these wastes.

Manufacturing Cells Eliminate Overproduction and Excess Inventory

Overproduction amounts to making more product than can be used. A manufacturing cell eliminates waste by making it easier to produce only what is needed. All operations are in close proximity, and the production process is simplified. In a cellular arrangement, one operator can complete multiple operations, which may improve the balance of work and simplify product flow.

Overproduction leads to excess inventory, which is the costliest of all manufacturing wastes. Manufacturing cells prevent excess inventory in a variety of ways. First, by balancing the work and instructing operators not to exceed what the next person can handle, the work-in-process inventory is reduced. By the nature of the cell layout, there's nowhere to put excess inventory. Manufacturing cells solve the vacant space paradox, which says the amount of vacant space is inversely proportional to the amount of time it is vacant.

Manufacturing Cells Eliminate Overprocessing

Manufacturing cells help eliminate the waste associated with overprocessing by keeping processes in close proximity to each other and making only what can be used immediately. Unnecessary processes, such as packing and unpacking, are eliminated because handling is reduced, and that which remains poses little risk of damage. Parts in the cells are processed sooner, so any of the other product protection processes can also be eliminated. The close proximity of all the operations makes it easier to identify the processes that are not adding value to the product.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Work Cell

    A work cell is an arrangement of resources in a manufacturing ...
  2. Protected Cell Company (PCC)

    A protected cell company (PCC) is a corporate structure, a single ...
  3. Stated Annual Interest Rate

    A stated annual interest rate is the return on an investment ...
  4. Business Inventories

    Business inventories is an economic figure that tracks the dollar ...
  5. Manufacturing Production

    Manufacturing production refers to the methodology of how to ...
  6. Manufactured Housing - MH

    Manufactured housing is a home unit constructed primarily or ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    Cell Phone Evolution

    Follow the evolution of cell phones from 20 pound bricks to the sleek smart phones of today.
  2. Investing

    Bellicum’s Technology May Pay Off Big (BLCM)

    Bellicum’s approach augurs well with the successful cancer therapies and offers long-term potential for the company
  3. Investing

    Key Financial Ratios for Manufacturing Companies

    An investor can utilize these financial ratios to determine whether a manufacturing company is efficient, profitable and a good long-term investment option.
  4. Personal Finance

    How Cell Phones Have Changed Your Budget

    The cost of owning a cell phone wasn't a factor for people less than two decades ago. Today, there seems to be no end to the additional charges that come from owning a smartphone.
  5. Investing

    Toyota Plans 100 Fuel Cell Buses by 2020 (TM)

    With field tests confirmed, Toyota is planning to produce over 100 fuel cell buses for the Tokyo metropolitan area before the 2020 Olympic Games.
  6. Investing

    Global Blood Sickle Cell Trial Moves Forward (GBT)

    Global Blood Therapeutics secured FDA approval to proceed with a Phase 3 trial for its GBT440 drug to treat sickle cell disease.
  7. Taxes

    4 Government-Funded FuelCell Energy Projects (FCEL)

    Discover FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL), an alternative energy provider developing renewable fuel cell power plants in the United States and abroad.
  8. Insurance

    Protect Your Family With Sufficient Life Insurance

    For less than the cost of a cell phone, you can protect your family financially with life insurance.
  9. Insights

    Will SunPower Capitalize on Solar Cells? (SPWR)

    A new Global Market Insights report identified American energy company SunPower Corp. as a "major participant" in the solar cells industry.
  10. Personal Finance

    What Kind of Solar Panels Provide the Best Savings?

    Before you make any decisions about incorporating solar energy into your home, it's first helpful to better understand the prospective ROI of doing so.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the formula for calculating the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) in Excel?

    Find out more about the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) and the formula for calculating it in Microsoft Excel. Read Answer >>
  2. What is the formula for calculating working capital in Excel?

    Find out more about working capital, what working capital measures and how to calculate a company's working capital using ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the formula for calculating the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio in Excel?

    Find out more about the price-to-earnings, or P/E, ratio, the P/E ratio formula and how to calculate the P/E ratio in Microsoft ... Read Answer >>
  4. How can I create a yield curve in Excel?

    Yield curves indicate where future interest rates are headed and you can actually make one in excel. Find out more about ... Read Answer >>
  5. How do you calculate operating cash flow in Excel?

    Lenders and investors can predict the success of a company by using the spreadsheet application Excel to calculate the free ... Read Answer >>
  6. How do I calculate stock value using the Gordon Grown Model in Excel?

    Learn about the Gordon Growth Model, also known as the dividend discount model. See how to use Microsoft Excel to determine ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center