One Piece Flow is a fundamental element of becoming lean. To think of processing one unit at a time usually sends a shudder through the organisation which has batch manufacturing as its life blood. The word "one" does not necessarily have a literal meaning. It should be related to the customers' requirements and could be one unit of order. However, what it does mean is that the organisation should only process what the customer wants, in the quantity he wants and when he wants it.
One Piece Flow
At this point we can start to take large amounts of waste (muda) out of the organisation because it is a journey without end. However, it is not without pain and a lot of problem solving.
So where do we start?
1. We have to calculate the takt time for our products or services and ensure that all cycle times are either less than, or equal to, the takt time. This may involve many kaizens to achieve it but, it has to be done.
2. We have to base the process capacity or equipment capacity on the takt time
3. We have to introduce a pull system of working
4. We have to ensure that the layout of our organisation supports one piece flow
You will find a number of resources to assist you in your understanding of lean - please feel free to browse our content and let us know if you require anything further.