High-Mix Low-Volume (HMLV) manufacturing is a production method used to produce a wide variety of products within limited quantities. HMLV environments are typically characterized by high flexibility and agility.
Sometimes referred to as MTO (make-to-order) manufacturing, High-Mix Low-Volume companies largely work on a contract-by-contract basis. The work and specifications are directly dictated by the customer, emphasizing the needs of the consumer as opposed to the needs of the product line or company.
High-Mix Low-Volume is a flexible production model that enables companies to produce a wide variety of products in limited quantities.
Products produced are often unique and complex.
The opposite of High-Mix Low-Volume is Low-Mix High-Volume.
In HMLV productions, the individual needs of the customer are put first.
High-Mix Low-Volume (HMLV) assembly operations produce a relatively small amount of product but have much more variation. HMLV manufacturers receive contracts and then augment their production environments to assemble the products according to their client's needs. These manufacturers will often be working on multiple contracts at the same time and shifting their production methods frequently.
Since HMLV operations are constantly changing, it is common for these manufacturers to assemble a wide variety of products in the same facility, including disparate products like medical devices, toys, electrical components, and more.
Due to the nature of contract work, workers may not see certain assembly processes for a few months at a time, making it difficult to remember the ins and out of each operation. For this reason, High-Mix Low-Volume manufacturers require intelligent tools to ensure effective assembly management within a high-mix environment.
With digital work instructions, key process knowledge is always at your employees' fingertips. Quickly create guidebooks with your company’s best practices to standardize a wide variety of processes.
HMLV productions are often quite complex and ever-changing, meaning the methods used to optimize high-volume environments are not always applicable. But with the emergence of Industry 4.0 and 5.0 technology, there are several methods and tools manufacturers can use to optimize their high-mix operations.
The first step to optimizing your HMLV production is to standardize your best practices, SOPs, and work instructions. Since operators will see a number of jobs from week to week, you can stabilize each process by standardizing the methods and tools that they use.
Standardize your best practices, SOPs, and work instructions with digital work instruction software. Use pictures, videos, and annotations to guide workers through their tasks and responsibilities while automatically collecting data.
While there are many moving parts within an HMLV production, there are always opportunities to increase flow for the various elements within the product line.
Effective HMLV productions will often move workstations, machines, and materials to optimize how people, materials, and products flow throughout the operation.
Use the Theory of Constraints to understand how limitations can be used to maximize your operations flow.
The more complex the operation, the more important communication is. Within HMLV environments, it is imperative that companies enable workers and leaders to communicate effectively.
When jobs change and improve, workers need to know about these changes. Also, leaders need to have their ears on the ground and understand how the operation is running.
But how is this accomplished?
There are several lean methodologies and technologies that enable companies to maintain an environment that is open to suggestions and improvements.
VKS alert notifications are also an effective tool to enhance safety on your shop floor. Use pictograms, alerts, and smart forms to ensure the safety of your workers.
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