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HEIJUNKA or production smoothing, is a technique to adapt production to naturally fluctuating customer demand. The Japanese word HEIJUNKA (pronounced hey June Kah) means literally “make flat and level”. Customer demand must be met with the customer’s preferred delivery times, but customer demand is “bumpy”, while factories prefer “level” or stable production. So a manufacturer needs to try and smooth out these bumps in production.
Heijunka is a Kanban card post-box system that is usually at the pacemaker process, A Heijunka box provides process level scheduling, pacing, schedule visibility, and early problem highlighting. Levelled production is customer order averaging so that the small sequence cycles produce the required volume and product mix. In a Heijunka box, customer monthly or weekly volume demands can be levelled into daily demands. Pull systems and Heijunka works well hand-in-hand. However, system improvements may be needed for success, Eg through quick change over. When the visual system indicates a problem, prompt identification and correction are absolutely essential.
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