Postprint version. Published in Journal of Manufacturing Systems, Volume 33, Issue 4, June 27, 2014, pages 613-623.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmsy.2014.05.010.
Balancing of production systems is one of the main lean manufacturing principles as it reduces in-process storage and related forms of waste. A dynamic systems approach is proposed to investigate challenges of implementing production leveling and associated costs. A lean cell producing at takt time is modeled using system dynamics. The model captures various lean tools influencing production leveling and their implications. Comparative cost analysis between various leveling implementation policies for stochastic demand with multiple products is conducted. Results showed that determining the most feasible leveling policy is highly dictated by both the cost and limitations of capacity scalability. In addition, delivery sequence plans of different products/parts needed to achieve mix leveling and lot sizes affect the feasible production leveling policy while implementing lean principles. The developed model and insights gained from the results can help lean manufacturing practitioners to better decide when and how to implement production leveling as well as determine both production lots sizes and sequence. They also emphasize the importance of cost analysis as assisting decision support tool in the trade-off required between the benefits of different levels of lean policies and their associated cost.