Factors impacting manual picking on assembly lines: An experiment in the automotive industry
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2013
Manual picking on assembly lines is an important part of the assembly operator’s work. In the automotive industry, alternative material exposure strategies are continually evaluated in order to facilitate the assembler’s work and minimize non-value-adding time, resulting in increased use of smaller bins or containers at workstations, instead of large pallets. The assembly operator’s retrieval of components from bins, containers or pallets is known as manual picking. Previous work in this area has focused on picking from pallets placed on the floor; therefore, there is a need to include other forms of materials exposure. The purpose of this paper is to explain what materials exposure factors have an impact on manual picking times on assembly lines. A full factorial experiment, testing seven factors in 128 experiments, was conducted in an automotive assembly line setting. The factors with the greatest impact on manual picking time were packaging type; angle of exposure; height of exposure; and part size. This study contributes by addressing the importance of six factors influencing manual picking times, enhancing knowledge derived from MTM and elsewhere. The results from this study can be useful for designing manual picking operations, not just at assembly lines but also other situations were discrete manual picking occurs such as workstations or bench assembly. Managerial contributions are evident in the examination of factors important in designing new production systems, including materials supply processes and assembly processes. A further managerial application is use of the results in managing assembly lines.