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Balanced Versus Unbalanced: Myths and Modern Thinking

If we take the simplistic example of a five-workstation line producing packaged cakes, we can see in Figure 2.2 that each task takes a certain amount of time and that there are precedence relationships; for example, the preparation of the cake and of the box obviously have to precede the packaging step.

In a balanced line, we would assign tasks A and B to station 1, task C to station 2, D and E to station 3, F to station 4, and G to station 5. In this way, each of the stations completes its task(s) on average at the same rate as the next station along or the station preceding it. If we were to unbalance the line, we could do this as illustrated in Figure 2.3.

Figure 2.2. Example of a sequence ...

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