The highly skilled worker who moves along

The Toshiba Case deals with the design of a new efficient assembly line and the introduction of a new subnotebook computer.

Toshihiro Nakamura, the manufacturing engineering section manager, paid attention to reducing the number of components, simplifying the parts production and the assembly requirements. His goal was to formalize the assembly steps and to increase the productivity and expel exemptions. The new notebook is a combination of high tech and low-cost innovation and was developed to give Toshiba a firm specific advantage for the upcoming fall/winter selling season.Toshiba makes use of a straight assembly line layout where operators work shoulder to shoulder on one side. The assembly consists of 14.4M long assembly line with a total of 17 different tasks that can be divided into six different workstations. Up to 12 operators work at the assembly line simultaneously.

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If needed, they can call their “supporter” to ask for his expertise. The supporter is a highly skilled worker who moves along the line assisting workers who are falling behind and replacing workers who need a break. The current maximum capacity of the assembly line is assumed to be capable of producing a notebook in 120 seconds with six employees, this equates to 225 notebooks a day. Nevertheless, Toshihiro wants to maximize the production to up to 300 computers a day.

To begin with we started calculating the throughput a day that the assembly line has with the current workstation. With the current workstation, the assembly line has a total throughput of 225 notebooks which is not the sighted number. The problem is, if Toshihiro does not change the setup of the assembly line, he will not reach the throughput of 300 computers a day.


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