What is Labor Routing?

Labor Routing

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Labor Routing

Labor routing, also known simply as “routing,” is a concept used in manufacturing that outlines the sequence of operations or tasks to be performed in producing a product. It provides detailed instructions on what work is to be done, by whom, with what equipment, and how long each operation should take.

Labor routing typically includes the following elements:

  • Operation sequence: The specific order in which tasks must be performed during the manufacturing process.
  • Work center: The specific location (or machine, department, etc.) where each operation is performed.
  • Setup time: The time needed to prepare for each operation, including setting up machines or gathering materials.
  • Operation time: The amount of time it should take to complete each operation. This may be further broken down into time per unit of output.
  • Total labor time: The sum of setup time and operation time.
  • Standards and specifications: Details about the quality and technical requirements for each operation.

Labor routing is a critical part of production planning and control. It is used in determining the production schedule, managing work flow, estimating production costs, and ensuring quality control. By clearly outlining the path that production will follow, labor routing helps increase efficiency, reduce waste, and improve productivity in the manufacturing process.

Example of Labor Routing

Let’s consider an example of labor routing in the context of a furniture manufacturing company that produces wooden chairs:

  • Operation sequence:
    • Cut wood
    • Assemble parts
    • Sand finished assembly
    • Paint and finish
    • Inspect and package
  • Work center:
    • Cutting Station
    • Assembly Line
    • Sanding Station
    • Painting Booth
    • Quality Control and Packaging
  • Setup time:
    • Cutting Station: 10 minutes
    • Assembly Line: 15 minutes
    • Sanding Station: 5 minutes
    • Painting Booth: 10 minutes
    • Quality Control and Packaging: 5 minutes
  • Operation time (per chair):
    • Cutting Station: 15 minutes
    • Assembly Line: 20 minutes
    • Sanding Station: 10 minutes
    • Painting Booth: 15 minutes
    • Quality Control and Packaging: 5 minutes
  • Total labor time (per chair):
    • Cutting Station: 10 (setup) + 15 (operation) = 25 minutes
    • Assembly Line: 15 (setup) + 20 (operation) = 35 minutes
    • Sanding Station: 5 (setup) + 10 (operation) = 15 minutes
    • Painting Booth: 10 (setup) + 15 (operation) = 25 minutes
    • Quality Control and Packaging: 5 (setup) + 5 (operation) = 10 minutes
    • Total labor time per chair: 110 minutes
  • Standards and specifications:
    • All wooden pieces should be cut according to the specified dimensions.
    • Assembly should be sturdy and all parts should be securely fastened.
    • Sanding should result in a smooth surface, free of splinters.
    • Paint should be evenly applied, with no drips or bare spots.
    • Final product should meet all quality control checks before packaging.

This routing sheet would guide workers through the manufacturing process, ensuring that each chair is made correctly and efficiently, following the same steps every time. By setting standards for the time each step should take, it also provides a basis for performance measurement and improvement.

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