Mixed Model Line Design Online Course

Master the step-by-step methodology
for designing optimized value-streams.

Get Started

Advantages of Mixed Model Line Design

Mixed Model Line Design is a step-by-step methodology for designing high-mix production lines or value streams. It starts with understanding which products and product volumes are going to be produced, the documentation of the processes required to build each one, the capturing of reasonable work times, and the design of flow lines that link and balance the work flow from start to completion.

The result is a production line that can manufacture a large number of different products and options, with high efficiency and quality. We would go so far as to claim that your design, following this methodology, would be unbeatable.

The tools of Mixed Model Line Design allow the design of lines that can handle inevitable changes in mix and volume, without degrading throughput or productivity. And they avoid the need for batching models, and for extensive and costly line changeovers.

In fact, this is how the “big boys” build products. This methodology is being used by manufacturing leaders like Toyota, John Deere, Hitachi, Ingersoll Rand, The Boeing Group, and many others. You can learn it too.

Toyota Material Handling
John Deere
Hitachi
Ingersoll Rand

A Word from Our Participants

"Very well organized. Good content distribution. Good sequencing. I see a lot of value in practical exercises."

— Natalia, Creation Technologies

"The class was a great introduction in line design. It was incredibly thorough. I will recommend this class to my peers."

— Marzel, W Machine Works

"Very different way to look at Takt time!! I've always heard Takt for product. Takt for process opens up a whole new world of possibilities."

— Dan, Henny Penny

Benefits

20%+ boost in productivity.
20%+ boost in productivity.
Higher level of operator engagement.
Higher level of operator engagement.
Shorter lead times.
Shorter lead times.
Leveled product volumes.
Leveled product volumes.
Increased flexibility in responding to changes in the market.
Increased flexibility in responding to changes in the market.
Free up floor space, your most expensive manufacturing real estate.
Free up floor space, your most expensive manufacturing real estate.

Developing This Course

Our Story

We have been teaching live workshops on Mixed Model Line Design since the late 1990’s, and although the method continues to evolve, our Mixed Model Line Design methodology has withstood the test of time. It is not a fad. Literally thousands of companies around the world have benefited from this approach to high-mix manufacturing, and many have adopted it as their corporate standard across all factories.

The idea of making our live courses available online was in our minds early on, but the technology to deliver high-quality training was not there, yet. It was not until recently that the software and internet speed made online delivery possible with the quality that we wanted. And we went to work.

The development of our public online Mixed Model courses was both helped and delayed by a request from one of our largest clients, a Fortune 100 manufacturing company with plants all over the world.

"Create," they said, "both live and online versions of your Mixed Model Line course, customized for our company. Use company-specific examples and photos, make sure that corporate policies and procedures are adhered to, and make it available in seven different languages, for world-wide deployment."

Understandably, the creation of public and general online Mixed Model courses was put on the back burner. But we learned a lot, and had the opportunity to improve the course material along the way. The course is now available to you!

Start Training Today

View course rates and create your profile.

Get Started

What is Included?

We've broken the Mixed Model Line Design curriculum into short, manageable lessons to accommodate your busy schedule. Lessons are complete with real-world examples and quizzes to drive home comprehension.

20
Lessons

8
Hours of Instruction

19
Quizzes

8
Hands-On Exercises

Mixed Model Line Design Roadmap

Mixed Model Line Design Roadmap

Leonardo Group Americas has developed a Roadmap for Mixed Model Line Design as a way to provide all companies with a standard method to design and deliver high-performing Mixed Model flow lines. The reasons to have a roadmap are many but it all boils down to knowing where you are heading when you start a line design project. To keep traveling in the right direction you need to have a roadmap.

A roadmap is a form of Standard Work for line design. This will give you the ability to improve your line design approach over time, moving towards perfection. It gives you a Standard to measure from. As Taiichi Ohno said: “Without Standardization there can be no improvement”.

If you are a potential member of a line design team, think of the roadmap as your checklist for Mixed Model line design. That's one less thing to worry about!

Assessment and Master Plan

Assessment and Master Plan

If you think that line design is something that matters to somebody else, you may want to reconsider that position. Understanding the benefits of a Mixed Model Flow Line will enable you to plan with far better accuracy, and communicate these benefits to others.

How do you know if the line is performing as expected? Is that slow down normal? Getting educated in Mixed Model line design will enable you to “read” the line so you know how it is performing.

Products and Forecast Daily Volume

Products and Forecast Daily Volume

Mixing products has a host of advantages including better lead times, increased flexibility, more efficient use of floor space, and leveled product volumes.

In this lesson, we'll also cover Forecast Daily Volume, which is one of the key drivers to calculate resources. You do not want to underestimate FDV or you will be unable to support your customer demand, nor do you want to overestimate it and have excess capacity.

Process Flow Diagram

Process Flow Diagram

A process is made up of work elements. To carry out their duties, work elements require resources, normally people and machines. As you define processes, identifying and documenting all those resources is strongly recommended, as you will be calculating the number of all those resources when it comes time to design the line.

A Process Flow Diagram shows the relationship of manufacturing processes to make a product. From a purely visual viewpoint, a PFD looks like a flow chart in the form of a fishbone diagram. It displays processes from your process list in relationship of flow (or sequence) necessary to make one unit of a specific product.

Process Flow Matrix

Process Flow Matrix

A Process Flow Diagram by itself does not tell you much about the eventual line design. It may shed some light on something you did not know before, but one Process Flow Diagram does not provide enough information to make well-informed decisions on the whole line, so you must find a way to extract applicable information.

The first tool we will use for organizing this data, will be the Process Flow Matrix.

Takt Time

Takt Time

Takt Time or Takt is a word we are borrowing from German that originally refered to the timing or tempo of a musical passage. Other ways to think of this are the beat or the rate. It is both calculable and measurable. For your Mixed Model line, Takt is the line’s formulated production rate. This rate is calculated and is a design parameter for the line.

The formula is very simple. We will spend a substantial amount of time working on Takt, and on factors that can affect its calculation.

Process Takt Time

Process Takt Time

In this lesson we'll cover some of the difficulties you must overcome to calculate an accurate Takt Time, including how to account for many factors that influence Takt such as changes in Effective Minutes, Rework, Scrap, Options, and Quantity consumed.

Failure to account for the volume modifiers will more often than not result in under-resourcing the line.

Standard Work

Standard Work

Standard Work is a foundational element of Lean, and we’ll review why it is so important.

We'll also teach you how to create and use Standard Work Definitions based on the format we've polished over 20+ years of Lean consulting experience.

Finally, how do you create effective Graphical Work Instructions? Users of Standard Work need to have an easy way to be reminded of the work steps and quality checks.

Resource Calculations

Resource Calculations

Yes, the resource calculation is simple: one number divided by another. You need to learn how to interpret the results, and we are going to spend a substantial amount of time learning how to do that in this course.

A process may have more than one type of resource associated with it. It is very common for a process to require Labor resources as well as Machine resources.

What constitutes a machine? Is a Drill Press a machine? Is a screwdriver a machine? As you can see you can go to a dizzyingly high level of detail that will gain you very little.

Workstation Definition

Workstation Definition

How do you calculate the number of necessary workstations? The resource calculation is your starting point for this step, but you need to know how to interpret the calculations.

One of the most important steps in creating a well-balanced line is balancing work between workstations. We'll show you how to divide up sequential work among several workstations in a flow.

In-Process Kanbans

In-Process Kanbans

An In-Process Kanban is primarily a space for a partially completed unit between two workstations.

The IPK is also a signal to work: Empty means GO. In other words, if your IPK (on the downstream side of the workstation you are working at) is empty, you are allowed to fill it. Finish a unit at your workstation then put it in the IPK. It is that simple.

By allowing an extra unit, an IPK provides one Takt Time of buffer. This will help to smooth out the imbalances that result from varying human work pace, and from the variable work content of different products. 

The Balancing Tools

The Balancing Tools

Balancing is not about being the smartest guy in the room. It is primarily about being smart about using the right balancing tools in the right order.

Different tools apply to different situations, and the relocation of work applies primarily to labor-driven processes. In this lesson we will cover when and how to use six balancing tools: Eliminate Waste, Relocate Work, In-Process Kanbans, Add Resources, Time Plus Inventory, and Sequencing.

Integrating Machines

Integrating Machines

In this lesson we will discuss the conditions required to balance machine resources. Machines should be integrated directly into your line design as much as possible, but there are some challenges that you might need to overcome when dealing with machine resources.

We'll also expand on previous lessons by showing you how to:

  1. Integrate IPKs with machine processes. IPKs are especially important when dealing with machines.
  2. Choose balancing tools based on machine capabilities. We’ll go back to the balancing tools discussed in the previous lesson, and apply them to machine-intensive environments.

Overcoming Changeovers

Overcoming Changeovers

The issue with Changeovers and batch sizes is that if your batch sizes are too small, you will be changing over too frequently, and run out of run time to actually do work. On the other extreme, if your batch sizes are too large, you will increase the amount of inventory produced, increase storage space required, and decrease your ability to respond in the short term.

Our goal in this lesson is to calculate the optimum batch size that the machine has to build, in order to overcome changeovers and not build up too much inventory.

Conceptual Layout

Conceptual Layout

This is your chance to figure out how the underpinnings of your line will work. How is it going to look? A Straight line? Bend at workstation 4? U-Shaped maybe? If there are batch processes, how would those operate in this line? What will the material replenishment paths look like? One-way or two-way aisles?

Several questions will be answered during this phase of the Roadmap and this is the opportunity for the entire team to negotiate and compromise on all sorts of solutions to the issues that will arise.

Simulation Modeling

Simulation Modeling

There are two main points to make when discussing computer modeling or simulation.

  1. When you’re designing a substantial Mixed Model line, simulation should be considered a requirement, and not a “nice to have” option. It’s virtually impossible to understand how your design is going to perform based solely on static calculations. There are too many variables and moving parts.
  2. In order to build simulation models, you’ll need some expert help. That can come from internal resources in your company, or from external sources, but you will need the help of people with simulation experience and knowledge.

The good news is that you’ve already captured most of the data that will be needed to build your model.

Final Layout

Final Layout

The Final Layout must be developed using a CAD drawing that is dimensionally correct and account for all the necessary resources for the line to function to the designed parameters.

Verify that the layouts include all material containers that are part of the material delivery plan. Optimum material delivery and presentation is a key element of a successful design. This is your team's opportunity to incorporate materials into the layout in collaboration with the Material Flow team.

Deployment Plan

Deployment Plan

As a line designer, you have a long list of things to consider now. There will be equipment, facilities, tools, fixtures, pilot runs, tweak this, tweak that, and then tweak them both again.

In this lesson, we want to discuss topics that are very important to ensure the success of your line when it does come live. You now have a hill to climb, the hill of the physical deployment of your Mixed Model Flow line. But to ensure success, there are factors beyond the physical deployment that must be taken care of. In this lesson, we will address three of them, Training, Quality Check planning, and Flexing.

Start Training Today

View course rates and create your profile.

Get Started

Certifying Body

The Lean Design Institute is an international collaboration of leading Lean Process Improvement experts.
Our headquarters are located in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Lean Factory Group

Lean Factory Group

Members include SAP, Orgatex, Leonardo Group GmbH, Syskomp, L-Mobile, Werma, 4D Flexiplat.
Leonardo Group Americas LLC

Leonardo Group Americas LLC

Boulder, Colorado
Leonardo Group GmbH

Leonardo Group GmbH

Headquartered in Munich, Germany
Offices in Switzerland, USA, Hungary, Romania, China, and Vietnam.
Kaizen Kulture

Kaizen Kulture

Manchester, United Kingdom
HLT Network

HLT Network

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay