Cellular manufacturing occurs when production equipment is grouped together and used for the sequential production of a set of parts that have similar characteristics. This concept is used in a lean manufacturing operation, as part of the effort to strip waste from the production process. The following are characteristics of cellular manufacturing:
- Machines within a cell are grouped close together, so that unfinished parts can be walked from one machine to the next.
- Employees may operate more than one machine within the production cell.
- Parts processed through the cell have similar characteristics, so that machine setups are minimized.
- There are likely to be a number of production cells within a manufacturing process.
By using cellular manufacturing, a business can benefit from greatly reduced inventory levels and higher product quality.