How to Set Up a Simple Production Line

How to Set Up a Simple Production Line You’ve got a large catalog mailing to complete at work.

There are stacks of envelopes and catalogs, everywhere you look, but the good news is you’ve got several people to help you out.

The bad news is that you’re unsure as to how to organize everything for maximum efficiency.

In this post, I offer some tips to help you arrange a very basic production line in your home or office.

Use these tips the next time you have to complete a time sensitive task with different physical pieces, and watch things get done before your very eyes!

Set up an adequate work area.

You’ll need to have enough physical space in which to set up your production line.

Strive for a clear and unfettered workspace or area. The exact amount of space you’ll need will depend on what you’re producing.

If you’re working on a small project at home, a kitchen countertop or dining room table will suffice; if you’re at work, a large conference room with large tables and chairs should do quite nicely.

Assemble all necessary materials.

Gather all the necessary items you’ll need for your project. Using the catalog mailer example, you’d round up catalogs, the envelopes, stickers, stamps, and address labels.

Having all the materials in hand from the beginning will make the production line run more smoothly.

Designate start and end points.

If you’re working in a large conference room, you could set up tables and chairs so that they form one straight line, with the work starting at one end of the table, ending at the other end.

You could also set up tables along the perimeter of the room and have the work flow start near the doorway, traveling in a clockwise pattern around the room, until it reaches the doorway.

The same start/end ideas can be applied to any smaller surface, be it a kitchen or dining room table, or countertop.

Create small work stations.

This is where you’ll break down the project into small stations. Each station, or area, is where a small task, or series of small tasks, will be performed.

From our catalog mailer example above, you might break down the process into the following:

  • Envelope station:  Stuff catalogs into envelopes
  • Sealing station: Seal envelopes with stickers
  • Labeling station: Label envelopes with address labels
  • Stamp station: Place postage stamps on envelopes
  • Quality control station: Ensure every package has an envelope, sticker, address label, and stamp on it

Distribute materials to each workstation.

Next, it’s time to layout out all the necessary materials at each workstation.

This step is crucial! You want to have the proper materials at the right station, otherwise the production line won’t run correctly.

In our example above, you’d place the catalog and envelopes at the envelope station, the stickers at the sealing station, and so on.

Get to work.

It’s time to start the production line. Assign each of your helpers a specific workstation, and make sure to show them exactly what needs to be done at their station. This will help eliminate errors or miscommunication.

If you’re working by yourself, you have the choice of either working your way down the workstations, one after another, or sitting down and working at a station until your work there is complete.

How about you? Have you ever organized a production or assembly line at work or home? What was it for, and how did it help you get things done more efficiently? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.

2 Responses

  1. Betty Winslow
    |

    Quality control is a step often left out – good reminder!

    • Rashelle
      |

      It sure is. Thanks!