One-piece flow, sometimes called continuous flow, is a production method used instead of traditional mass production. In mass production, materials move through the manufacturing process in batches. In one-piece flow, a product is completed before the next one is started.

While this method of production may not seem intuitive, it is actually faster than performing Step 1 of a process on 100 products at once before moving on to Step 2. In mass production, it takes time to switch tasks or move products as a group. One-piece flow is generally more efficient, limits the amount of work in process, and prevents bottlenecks.

Setting up a workplace for one-piece flow production can require some rearranging of workstations. Each step in the process should be placed next to the subsequent step to reduce motion.

One Piece Flow

5S Lean Guide
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