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Line Balancing

Line balancing is the act of balancing the cycle times of the workers on a production line to the takt time.

When everyone has a cycle time that matches the takt time, work flows efficiently. If a line is not balanced, it either has waiting waste where team members are standing around at the end of each cycle, or the line can’t keep up with demand.

The total cycle time to produce a product divided by the takt time gives the number of people required. This assumes that the work can be split evenly—sometimes it can be hard to do precise line balancing. Most lines never get balanced out perfectly even.

The last worker should be given all the leftover time when the staffing calculation has a fraction (the ‘.57’ if the calculation comes out to 5.57).

Consolidating all this extra time makes it easy to shift a person to another location when a few improvements are completed. It also gives that person a bigger chunk of time to work on projects. This practice of line balancing is known as the least operator concept.

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