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Assembly station design: a quantitative comparison of the effects of kitting and continuous supply

Robin Hanson (Department of Materials Management, Saab Automobiles, Trollhättan, Sweden)
Lars Medbo (Division of Logistics & Transportation, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)
Per Medbo (Division of Logistics & Transportation, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 9 March 2012

857

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine how kitting, compared to continuous supply, affects the time spent by the assembler fetching parts in manual assembly.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an experimental setup at the Saab Automobile assembly plant in Trollhättan, Sweden. Experienced assemblers were studied as they performed the same assembly operations in ten different configurations. Each configuration consisted of a different arrangement in terms of how parts were presented. The use of kits to present parts was compared to parts presentation through continuous supply, where each part number was presented in a separate container.

Findings

The time for fetching parts is significantly shorter when parts are presented through kitting instead of through continuous supply. Furthermore, the shorter fetching time is not just related to a shorter distance between assembly object and parts presentation, which can often be achieved through kitting. The reduction of time spent searching for parts is also considerable.

Practical implications

The results of the paper provide valuable input in the design of assembly and materials supply systems, as they enable a better understanding of the relative performance of the materials feeding principles of kitting and continuous supply.

Originality/value

Previous studies of kitting and its impact on assembly are mostly conceptual or qualitative, whereas quantitative studies are scarce. The current paper provides a substantial contribution by quantifying the effects that kitting, compared to continuous supply, has on the time spent fetching parts.

Keywords

Citation

Hanson, R., Medbo, L. and Medbo, P. (2012), "Assembly station design: a quantitative comparison of the effects of kitting and continuous supply", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 315-327. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410381211217399

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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