Heijunka

Heijunka, or production leveling, supports the just-in-time method of production. It helps smooth out the workload to eliminate unevenness (mura) and overburden (muri).

Heijunka often involves the ability to perform quick changeovers from producing one product to producing another. This ability gives the system the flexibility to produce smaller batches of a product at one time, so customer orders can more easily be fulfilled and wastes associated with large batch production can be eliminated.

By using heijunka, a facility can limit the amount of daily variation in production. Heijunka also allows a business to more successfully utilize a pull system where production is pulled by customer demand.

To achieve level production, businesses must consider many factors such as how long it takes to create products, how many types of products must be produced, how much buffer inventory is needed to ensure orders always get filled, and more.

To help workers on the floor visualize what work must be done, some businesses employ heijunka boxes (or boards). These diagrams show what types of products are to be produced in what quantities on a given day.

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