Thanks to the BetterProcess blog for this article. The new Dell factory in NC is talking about 5 second takt times, then eventually 2.5 second takt times. Well, they don’t say “takt.” That’s a whole other discussion on “is Dell lean” or “is Dell a TPS company?” Let’s leave that for another day.
Dell isn’t like a car plant, with a single line. A 5-second takt time doesn’t mean that standard work is divided up among workers in 4-5 second increments on a moving line. Dell uses quite a few parallel lines for kitting parts and parallel build stations for actually assembling the PC’s. It’s impressive, but it’s not like a high-speed automated line that moves that fast.
What is impressive, however, is pulling the material necessary to build more than 10,000 PC’s in a day. Again, we can argue if it’s “lean” to have suppliers stage two weeks’ of material just outside the factory. The new Lean Solutions book has an interesting (and accurate) discussion of Dell, are they “lean” or not. Maybe I’ll discuss that another day.
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