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group technologya means of obtaining the benefits of PROCESS-FOCUSED LAYOUT and PRODUCT-FOCUSED LAYOUT by seeking similarities within tasks, jobs, products and processes. These are identified and formed into families and the resources required are formed into ‘groups’ or ‘cells’. The net effect is to reduce work in progress, set up times and throughput times as well as creating better social relationships amongst employees using the system. The technique relies on a coding system (see PARTS FAMILY CODING AND CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS). The components need not be for the same product but will all be worked on in the same cell.
Cellular manufacturing applications have the following characteristics:
groups are team oriented, groups produce or carry out a specific ‘family’ or set of tasks or products, groups are equipped with a specific set of equipment solely for the use of the group, equipment is located in one area – the cell, the workers within the group share a specific target and the group operates as independently as possible self assigning workloads within the cell. See LEAN MANUFACTURING.