Streamlining Manual Assembly Operations

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


MeSH Terms


Subject: LCSH

Lean manufacturing, Human engineering


Industrial Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Streamlined manufacturing operations are essential to reduce lead times, increase inventory turns, and improve quality and productivity. Streamlining operations becomes extremely important in seasonal industries due to their nature involving changing demand. Heating is a seasonal business and burner manufacturing requires significant increase in work force to meet demand during peak season. Furthermore, burners are highly customizable products, and manufacturing relies on manual assembly. Burner manual assembly could quickly become a source of waste resulting from large variety of parts and insufficient standardization of processes. In this paper we present impacts of lean implementation to streamline operations in this nature. We studied manual assembly and supporting operations at a burner manufacturing company, and identified defect and motion as primary sources of waste. Implementation of 5S for setup time reduction, workbench redesign for process simplification, and work process documentation for consistency in part production achieved 12 percent reduction in motion, and reduced defect rates from 13 to less than 0.5 percent in some processes. These results show that processes producing customizable products with changing and rotating work force can be improved using lean tools and methods to more standardized and repeatable processes that are controlled and sustained.


© 2015 Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers

Paper appeared in the IIE Annual Conference Proceedings; Norcross (2015).

Full-text access is available to the University of New Haven community.

Publisher Citation

Chen, S., & Erdil, N. O. (2015). Streamlining manual assembly operations. IIE Annual Conference. Proceedings, 1215-1223.