Moving from a batch production to a unit flow production, is it really faster?

The answer is yes!

The first time I was told that a unit flow production is much faster than a batch production, I didn’t understand why and had doubts.

But I listened and I soon realized that it is true!

Of course, not all types of production apply to unit flow, such as producing bread and cooking them 10 at a time in the oven. But this method can be applied to more type of production than one thinks, especially if you do a lot of manual tasks.

You are wondering what is unit flow production. I summarize this method of production quite simply, it is to treat one unit at a time throughout the operations instead of producing in batches, or several units at a time that you accumulate before passing them to the next operation.

Here is a simple example that I’ve regularly seen in batch productions.  Preparing the boxes in advance for packaging and storing them along the walls in the production room.

All this to get ahead, of course. Everyone believes that preparing many sub-steps in advance helps to reduce time in the final assembly.

It doesn’t save you time.  If you don’t believe me, try it, you’ll see.

How can you save time you ask? It’s simple.

  • Brake down your production process in stages.
  • Measure how long it takes to complete each step.
  • Allocate tasks equally among employees, no one should wait after another. In principle, a person makes a step and passes the product to the next, but grouping steps might be necessary so that no one is waiting.
  • Therefore, a person completes a task, gives the unit to a 2nd person, who completes the 2nd step, which gives the unit to the 3rd person who completes the 3rd step, etc. until the end of your production.

Now try testing your production with your products. Do the math. Measure a batch production and then with the same products, the same quantities, the same people, try and measure a production in unit flow.  Separate the tasks in your production until it gets optimal. You’ll see for yourself! It works!

You will see that you will be faster and produce better products because every error will immediately be seen by the next person in the production flow.

Imagine your productivity gains, and you’ll deliver to your customers faster!


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