Step 7 - Balance the Workload

Step 7 is focused on the removal of "mura and muri" which translates from Japanese as "unevenness and overburden."

Mura occurs when a process is consistently stopping and starting because the flow of work into and through the process is sporadic.

Muri occurs when a process is overburdened or overwhelmed and cannot meet the expected throughput demand. 

What is Balanced Workload?

When a company has started to see improvements to its process flow, it needs to focus on balancing the workload. Unevenness in the process flow will still be a problem at this stage in their lean implementation. Two factors cause the problem, unbalanced work content and fluctuations in customer demand. It is important to find ways to balance out these two factors to level the production and improve process flow.

Balanced Cycle Times

How is it possible to balance the workload?

There are three things that have a direct impact on balancing the production workload:

  1. The amount of work content at each operation involved in the overall process.
  2. Fluctuations in customer demand, which starve or overburden the production process.
  3. An ability to implement “heijunka” or “production smoothing” to overcome these problems.

What is the process to create a balanced workload?

A business must implement a workplace organization process, improve process flow, reduce changeover times and implement a pull system. These will help to stabilize the production system. Next, complete time studies on work content at each workstation. Evenly distribute the workload between the workstations. Once the work content has been balanced, implement heijunka or production smoothing. Determine customer demand, that is what’s needed and when it’s needed and schedule the work in small kanban quantities. This will mean holding a little extra inventory at certain times, but the production flow should be balanced with fewer fluctuations.

Balance the Workload Video

In this short video, Chris Turner - Lean Mfg Coach gives a brief explanation about the importance of balancing the workload.

Balance the Workload Course

I have an individual training module for Balance the Workload available to purchase. It is from my advanced level training course which is Level 3 - Lean Expert in Manufacturing. For more information click the link below:

Categories: : 10-Step Model