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ASSEMBLING SMARTPHONES : TAKT TIME IS NOT EQUAL TO CYCLE TIME

The objective is to match the cycle time & takt time.

In our case of assembling smartphone, the main entity is Alejandro Sibaja, who was responsible
for driving LEAN manufacturing on the Guadalajara North Campus of Flextronics de Mexico
(FdM), one of two large sites in the city belonging to Flextronics International, the global
electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider.

LEAN manufacturing is focused on efficiency and optimization of manufacturing flow.

Proponents of LEAN manufacturing consider any expenditure of resources that do not create
value for the customer to be waste, and maintain that all such waste must be eliminated.

Profit margins in EMS were very thin and manufacturers leveraged huge economies of scale
and purchasing power, along with tight cash management practices, to try to eke out a return
In light of their low gross margins, companies focused on return on invested capital (ROIC) as a
key metric.

According to Flavio Magalhaes, Plant Manager, Mechanicals, “This factory has to compete
with China. China's labor rates are lower; they don't have much competition on wage rates.
Andreas [another manager] saw his Xbox assembly business going away from here to China,
and we watched those jobs disappear. We saw that happening with cell phones. Then we saw
other product assembly work go. We felt the pain . . . year after year, losing a huge amount of
revenue, business leaving, because we could not compete with the prices and costs in China. So
from the site manager to the production operator on the floor, our team is really motivated to
be more productive. That's the only way we can stay in the game —by being much more
productive than a factory in China.”

The FdM site had a simple overhead allocation scheme based on factory floor space usage.
Overhead included costs like electricity, lights, heating, and air conditioning, cleaning services,
and trash pickup, but also some unique support services like the "moonshine shop" that
assembled production line fixtures.

The rationale for this approach was that since the company got paid for manufacturing services,
and performing these services took resources and space, floor space utilization was a good
proxy for costs. Moreover, occupying less space meant that more capacity could be added
without constructing new buildings.

Alberto Castrejon, head of business development for the site, explained, "The metrics are
simple: what space you use, what resources you consume, what quality you produce . . . it's just
very simple, and the way we have it arranged, it's very visual!" Managers were motivated to
constantly find ways to reduce the physical space a production line occupied, and they were
not bashful about recruiting the operators to help them. Switching Smartphone Production

The LEAN Manager for Mobile, Javier Cervantes, as well as the LEAN team and Alejandro,
worked hard to improve the assembly of smart phones for one of the world's iconic branded
sellers in Building 6.
The customer demand was 1920 units.
How to achieve it ?

Daily time = 8 hours per shift


Desired production = 1920 units

So Takt time = 8 x60 x60 / 1920 units = 15 sec

First approach : Single line conveyor based

They calculated that if a single line could produce 1920 units per eight-hour shift, they could
meet the customer volume needs simply by replicating lines. They assigned 24 operators to
each line with a Takt time of 15 seconds.

Net production = 135-138 good pieces per hour

So cycle time was around 3600 min/ 135 units =26.66 sec we need 15 sec to complete the order

So the actual production can be around 1080 (135x 8 ) to 1104 (138 x8) units/ shift.

Second approach : Single line Non-conveyor based

When Alejandro was later asked what Next, the team switched to a long straight line that was
not conveyor-paced, assigning 22 operators, again with a Takt time of 15 seconds. Yet the
average output of each line reached only 1104 units per shift.

Operators reduced but could not reach to target.

Net production = 138 good pieces per hour

So cycle time was around 3600 min/ 138 units =26.08 sec we need 15 sec to complete the order

So the actual production can be around to 1104 (138 x8) units/ shift.

So under second approach,

number of workers reduced by 2


production has gone up to 138 pieces per hour
so production has increased to 1104 units, still far from target.

Third approach : Shorter straight line assembly

After additional brainstorming, they decided to cut the line in half, assigning 10 operators to a
shorter line with a Takt time target twice as long, so 30 sec time. Actual output, after running
for several days, stabilized at 640 units per short line, or 1280 per pair of lines, which occupied
the same 1,232 square feet as the original long line.

Here, the Takt time has doubled, workers have been half in number, efficiency increased.
Production was 1280 units per shift
So cycle time is now = 3600 sec/160 pieces= 22.5 sec, still far from 15 sec

Fourth approach : U shaped assemble line :

The next step was to convert the line to a U-shaped cell. The LEAN team had a lot of practice
compressing lines into a smaller space; reduced overhead allocation would help them on costs
if they could do it. The U-shaped cell would also put everything in closer proximity, and cross-
trained operators could balance work between themselves.

After several days of experimenting and adjusting, they ended up with the configuration. Each
cell could produce 960 units per shift, and the operator count went down to 9. Space went
down to 616 square feet, while yield went up (which meant fewer reworks for quality
problems).

Production was 960 units per shift in half space, 616 square feet
So total production has doubled to 1920 pieces in 1232 square feet, which is exactly needed.

So cycle time = 3600 sec/120 units = 30 sec


But as two parallel lines are working, effective cycle time per piece has reduced to half, that is,
15 sec.

"We got the cycle time to equal the Takt time —no more, no less; that is always our goal,"
commented Alejandro.