Lean Definition

One-Piece Flow

One-Piece Flow describes the sequence of a product or transactional activities (e.g., insurance claims), through a process one unit at a time. In contrast batch processing creates a large number of products or works on a large number of transactions at one time – sending them together as a group through each operational step. In one-piece flow, the focus is on the product or the transactional process, rather than on the waiting, transporting, and storage of either. One-piece flow methods need short changeover times and are conducive to a pull system.

One–Piece flow advantages are:

  • Reduced customer to order shipment
  • Reduction of work in progress
  • Early Detection of defects
  • Increased flexibility for customer products/ transactional demands
  • Reduced operation costs through exposure/ elimination of non-value added waste
  • A project process improvement could be a work flow change that reduces the batch size or changes from batch processing to a single-piece flow.

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