Getting it Right – Right Sized Workstations
Written by: Doug Sparks, President / Inventor of Flex Craft
I still recall my sensei’s response to my question; how big should a conveyor be? His response was “think of a gooses egg tract, how wide is it?” The answer, slightly larger than the egg. I also remember the valuable lesson that 5S has taught me, any open space / surface is an opportunity to put something down that doesn’t belong there.
With that said, workstations should only be as large as the product being made there, anything else could be identified as waste. Arguments can be made for excess inventory and additional over processing, both of which are considered MUDA. Challenge yourself to reduce both of those wastes and right size that workstation.
While you’re right sizing the workstation, eliminate the temptation to place anything on it that doesn’t belong there. This can be done by not adding flat surfaces, instead try fixturing or minimal contact points (nesting). Other benefits that can be had from this approach are optimizing labor by improved presentation. Nesting can also reinforce one piece flow.