What is an Assembly Line?

Definition: An assembly line is a systematic production process that divides the workflow in many different stages performed by different workers. It is a manufacturing technique based in small tasks carried out in sequence.

What Does Assembly Line Mean?

This systematic scheme was popularized by the Ford Company in 1913, when it was implemented to produce the Ford Model T at the Highland Park Ford Plant. After that, it has been employed by most manufacturing companies since it is considered a highly-efficient technique for mass production. With this method, the production process is divided in many steps where different parts are added or a given action is performed.

Each part of the process is carried out by a different worker and, since most of the tasks performed at each stage are easy to execute, the company can hire low-skilled, minimum wage workers to do them. This reduces the overall labor costs and it also requires minimum training. Recently, robots have also become an important part of assembly lines and they have proven to be very profitable for companies when factors like job safety, extra hours or fatigue are considered. Assembly lines have many advantages, but quality assurance procedures must be properly placed to guarantee the product is being assembled as expected.

Example

A certain restaurant is designing an assembly line for a pizza delivery service. The service workflow was broken down in the following stages: 1) receiving order 2) dow preparation 3) adding ingredients 4) place pizza in oven 5) assembly pizza box 6) content verification 7) delivery bag preparation 8) delivery process.

Each stage will be carried out by 8 different workers. This will ensure each step will be done quickly, since each task is simple enough, and step 6 will serve as a quality assurance procedure to reduce errors and returned orders. By implementing this technique the restaurant is aiming towards becoming the fastest delivery service in town