Just-in-time requires a stable production plan. If the volume or the product mix varies widely over time, it becomes very difficult to maintain a just-in-time environment. While customer demand is rarely known in advance, master production schedules are typically used to aggregate customer behavior and to govern production volume and mix for a specified time period. The master production schedule is typically given in units to be produced per week or per month. This must be further broken down to indicate smaller increments of time and more specific product identification. Heijunka boards generally show time increments of 5 - 30 minutes.

The workday is divided into even time increments shown as column headings on the heijunka board. Various work areas or processes are shown as rows on the heijunka board. Each cell, then, on the heijunka board represents what is to be started by each area in each time slot. Ideally, there will be a short pattern of what is to be produced, and the pattern will be repeated throughout the day. For example, if two products of equal volume are produced, rather than producing X for four hours and then Y for four hours each day, the heijunka board would show alternating production X - Y, throughout the day.

Discuss how heijunka or production leveling is related to each of the following techniques or concepts.

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Heijunka and production levelling
Production levelling is a process of producing in a constant flow which allows the company to produce and deliver value to its customers at a steady pace and it enables the company to react effectively to fluctuations in demand based on the average demand. In this there are two types of levelling that are used - levelling by type and levelling by volume. Production levelling is related to the following terms as described below (Chiarini, 2011).

Production levelling and five S:
Five S includes the steps of sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain which are used to eliminate the wastes in the production or manufacturing process and this aims to use only the optimal process or steps for efficient production that would minimize costs. In this regard, Heijunka or the production levelling process is one of the lean techniques which are used to minimize the fluctuations that are caused in the manufacturing process. This system is also used in the 5S system described above as it would solve the fluctuations which might occur during the 5S process in the manufacturing systems. Heijunka helps in evening out the pace of work while entering the factory or at workplace and in this way it sets an order and standardizes work....

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