Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
Production & operations - Cell production
Cell production has the flow production line split into a number of self-contained units. Each team or ‘cell’ is responsible for a significant part of the finished article and, rather than each person only carrying out only one very specific task, team members are skilled at a number of roles, so it provides a means for job rotation.
Cell production is a form of team working and helps ensure worker commitment, as each cell is responsible for a complete unit of work.
Amongst the benefits claimed for cell production are:
Closeness of cell members should improve communication, avoiding confusion arising from misunderstood or non-received messages
Workers become multi-skilled and more adaptable to the future needs of a business
Greater worker motivation, arising from variety of work, team working and more responsibility
Quality improvements as each cell has ‘ownership’ for quality on its area
Some of the downsides of using cell production include:
The business culture has to encourage trust and participation, or workers can feel that they are being constantly pushed for more and more output with no respite
The company may have to invest in new systems suitable for cell production
Cell production may not allow a firm to use its machinery as intensively as in traditional flow production
The allocation of work to cells has to be efficient so that they have enough work, but not so much that they are unable to cope