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U-Shaped Cell

A U-shaped cell is exactly what it sounds like—a work area that is organized in the shape of a ‘U’. The U-shaped cell allows an operator to finish her work in virtually the same location that she started, eliminating the waste of walking back from the end of a line to the start.

U Shaped Cell

U-Shaped Cell

This configuration is most effective when one operator is moving through several stations. The flow in a U shaped cell should be set up to go counterclockwise. Most people are right-handed, so moving counterclockwise keeps their dominant hand where the work is.

The U shaped cell should be set up to allow two operators to work back to back, even if there is not currently demand for it. Often, they will need help, or people may need to be added to the U-shaped cell later when the workload does increase.

A U-shaped cell also supports communication. In a long, straight line, operators may be far away from each other. In a U shaped cell, they are in close proximity and can easily ask questions and problem solve.

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