Deluxe PLUS HEIJUNKA Car Factory Simulation



The Heijunka Simulation develops a visualization of mixed-mode work flow and the lean planning function to manage capacity and assure on-time delivery.

Package Contents:

The Car Factory material kit consists of the basic set of toy car materials and all of the presentation materials contained in the Deluxe Kit, plus the extra materials to support the Heijunka mixed-model loop simulation. All PowerPoint, WORD, Visio and Excel Files, if used, are provided on USB Drive for your review and to print as needed to supplement your training requirements, in addition to the preprinted materials included in the package.

Additional Heijunka materials include the 49 page color printed and bound Facilitator Guide, a 6x6 Heijunka Box, 16 Heijunka Kanban cards, 16 Job Ticket order cards, two 450 pc dispenser packs of detail components, inventory gravity fed slide board, and all of the supporting files on the USB drive.

All materials are packaged in a single double deep container approximately 16x13x4, or about the size of a brief case, for easy transport and setup. The Heijunka Box can be assembled in under 5 minutes. Weight of the 4" deep container is approximately 15 lbs.

In situations where you will be performing the Car Factory Simulations without the Heijunka Box, the kit can be packaged into two single deep 16x13x2 containers, one with the Car Factory and one with the Heijunka Box, for ease of transport between class room and office.  Please indicate on your order in the comment section your preference.  Default is two single deep containers.  Weight of each 2" deep case is approximately 8 lbs.

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Deluxe PLUS HEIJUNKA Car Factory Simulation

"HI-E-JUNE-CA" -- The “Leveling the Waves” presentation presents an alternate way to approach the function of master scheduling and planning for a lean manufacturing environment.

The LeanMan Deluxe PLUS with Heijunka Simulation is a complete Lean Principles training package. It includes a unique 6 x 6 slot Heijunka Box (14"x15"x4") when assembled) plus all of the materials necessary to explore thoroughly all of the elements of Heijunka scheduling and how it relates to the Five Principles of Lean.

Recommended class size is at least 10 hands-on participants, but varies with the flow method being simulated. There are two Heijunka flow simulations provided. The facilitator is then encouraged to build upon these examples by using the techniques described in the Leveling the Waves presentation and in the Facilitators Guide to run a third simulation using a toss of a die to randomly build one of 6 models.

The Plus Kit includes all of the standard and bonus PowerPoint presentations that are part of the Deluxe Kit, which includes the Evolution of Lean presentation to provide a history of lean. Be sure to check out the details by clicking on the Deluxe Lean Factory Simulation Car Kit tab of this web site.

There are two "Mole" cards to provide velocity timing of the color cars through the process for easy metrics. The "Mole Card" is used to record the time the car arrives at each station from Stock Kit to Finished Goods.

Also on the USB drive is The Learning to See the Waste presentation which provides a short 2-step exercise perfect for management and customers who want an introduction to the W O W  of Lean. Laminated presenter’s guide with 8.5 x 5.5 placemat instruction set is included.

PS: Don't forget the human side of lean! Check out the Teaming with Success - it's a great way to top off your lean training event.


Heijunka is for mixed-mode production, so by definition, all models produced in the work cell controlled by the Heijunka box must meet the criteria established for the production line, i.e., uses same technology, requires a subset of the same resource requirements, meets a multiple of the flow rate requirements, and so on, plus it must have a turn rate such that several of them can be produced inside one pitch interval or time period. That way a mix of several models can be broadcast from the line to meet the random model demand within one interval.

The first task for the team, after reviewing the “Leveling the Waves” presentation, is to establish a capacity plan for each model. The plan results in the specific resource "puzzle shape" for each model and allows the team to determine how to mix the different shapes into a pitch interval, and how many of each can be produced in a particular time period. The time period is the top to bottom "column" in the box, with each slot in the column a different model. So, if you determine a mix of AABD is valid (the allowed time is sufficient to produce 2 AA and 1 B and 1 D), there would be two A cards in the top slot, one B card in the second slot, and one D card in the fourth slot. The team should pull from the top and work down the column building each model as defined by the card. When complete, the team moves to the next time period which is the second column, and repeats from the top down.

In the real world the time period may be several hours, a shift, a week or whatever makes sense. I have used this technique using a cadence of half-shift, so every 4 hours the team knows they should shift to the next column. The team members, regardless of their physical distance from each other in the shop, can visually see the wall clock and determine if they are ahead or behind schedule by a glance at the clock. The planners who insert the cards into the box typically work a few days ahead of the flow so the team can also see their expected work load a few days out which allows them to plan personal time off when it won’t interfere with production schedule. The advance plan of a day or two also gives the planners the ability to reschedule and remix models every half day if necessary, as long as they stay at least one pitch ahead of the work. So when you produce AABD, the second A may have been requested at a time after D, but both will be produced in the same interval so neither customer should care that the second A was pulled ahead of the D.

The tables used in the presentation excel file provide a discussion on progressive thinking stages the team might go through as they relate the total process touch time to the assignment of process steps performed by each person. The excel chart totals the individual touch times and provides a sum which is compared to the takt time and desired pitch interval. It's an iterative process of crafting a flow with balanced distribution of labor such that the constraint labor point is still able to produce at least the desired number of toy cars. You rarely get it right the first time. The thought process continues over and over as bits of labor are shifted between the labor points to create balance without giving up the minimum number of each car. The iterative process cycles until an optimum balance is designed by the team, and usually requires the team perform a run or two to verify performance. In the real world, the same approach is used during a kaizen event to allow the team and the planners work together to optimize the planning rules (puzzle shapes and quantities) until the team is assured it can keep pace with the demand.

The basic issue with Heijunka sequencing is that the schedule it produces is not as finitely controlled as a fixed rate single model line so you can't just have a planner create it alone in a vacuum, it requires team participation. It is also not likely to utilize resources at 100% like a single model line. But the flexibility it provides and the overall reduction in finished goods levels offsets the efficiency waste that one or two of the models might introduce to the work cell. You give up a little work cell efficiency, such as stopping the line early on one model or on the last pitch for the week so you don't overproduce, but you gain big in overall value stream. So you have to step back from the point process, take a look at the bigger value stream, and see where you might be able to convert that excess resource into another use, such as completing a 5S support function.

In the situation where cars might be over produced, the task is to either balance the labor if possible; or remix the schedule if possible; or reduce the number of people and re-balance labor if possible. Keep working one constraint against the other. Perhaps one model should be thrown off the team and produced in a fixed schedule method and use the Heijunka method for the remaining models. It's important that there is a good fit of resource, materials and capacity for each model added to a mixed-mode work cell. If the things you can control within the team become the limiting factor and you still overproduce, then begin looking at the value stream ahead and behind the operation for the possibility of absorbing some of the support functions into the team to balance the stream. It's sort of a question of rather it is better to have 4 workers carry the same load, even if it's only 85% capacity, or have 3 workers maintain 95% capacity and 1 worker provide 55% for this team and perform another task elsewhere the remaining time.

The two simulations provided with the kit are intended to show the leveling that the Heijunka method can provide when comparing fixed versus random inputs. The next step is not provided, but is implied for the team to rethink the simulation by using lean principles to provide a “tuned up” third simulation of your own design. You might start with the 5S concepts as something that consumes team resource and could be worked into the flow such that it is performed in the background (like during a machine cycle) with no interruption to production flow rates. Look at the value stream and attempt to reduce the effect of the non-value adding but essential activities that we call incidental waste. Sometimes a little repositioning of workers, tables or materials provides a little help. Look at taking on another product model or detail feature that can be produced by the team without impact to existing demand.

The repetitive idea behind Heijunka scheduling is to maintain the rhythm of flow. Each worker gets into the cadence and intuitively adjusts his or her timing to match the beat of the drum over several pitch increments. In the simulation, this is provided by the "timekeeper" moving at a fixed rate across the top of the box to provide a visual cue. Cadence assures capacity and delivery. In real situations, it can be the repeating sound of some machine clacking or the wall clock overhead, but it is important to maintain cadence and not adjust production speed according to rather or not one model might be over produced. So a buffer is sometimes added to hold excess inventory for a short period - typically one interval.

If all models are in balance but one, and it is going to be over produced by the end of the last pitch, then create a repetition mix like AAABBC AAABBC that provides best balance and best delivery to meet all demand, and drop out the over producer model from one pitch at the end of the week (or shift) and fill in the time with another support function. You will only over produce that one model during a very short period, but then recapture schedule after another short period of time. Thus you create a small inventory buffer for a small time increment, usually less than one pitch, rather than loose cadence.

The files are provided on a USB Flash Drive, and include additional free bonus presentation materials. These short presentations provide supporting concepts and training necessary to fully implement the lean principles into your organization.

The presentations may be used as is, or edited for your specific training need and audience.

Included files are:

  • The Five Principles of Lean - 8 slides
    This presentation can be used as a baseline for introducing the student to the five principles of lean as outlined in the book: Lean Thinking by James Womack et al. Edit the PowerPoint slides to add focus for your specific training event.

  • 14 Philosophies behind TPS - 15 slides
    Excerpts from The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker, this presentation provides the 14 guiding philosophies developed by the Toyoda family and other contributors that are the foundation for the Toyota Production System.

    Note: The concepts and terms presented in The Toyota Way book are the basis for two fun and challenging games available from The LeanMan. See the tab Team Development: TPS ToyodaWay Game Set. 

  • 5-S for Lean - 35 slides
    This presentation can be used as a baseline for a 5-S program. It contains the basics for understanding 5-S and a great starter program to set your workplace in order and prepare it for Lean. Edit the PowerPoint file to suit your needs.

    Note: The concepts and terms of 5-S are the basis for two fun and challenging games available from The LeanMan. See the tab Team Development: 5-S Game Set. 

  • Visual Control for Lean - 13 slides
    This presentation can be used as a baseline for a Visual Control program to provide visual communications in the shop area. Coupled with the 5-S presentation, it sets the stage for powerful and fast team communication so everyone knows what, when, where and how the product flows. Edit the PowerPoint slides to suit your needs.

  • Visual Systems for Lean - 46 slides
    This presentation can be used as an introduction to Visual Systems and 5-S. It focuses on the concepts of seeing new meaning behind everyday sights, and works well to support The LeanMan Learning to See the Waste and The LeanMan Developing Lean Eyes presentations. Edit the PowerPoint slide to add photos from your own workplace.

The LeanMan 26 question Lean Self-Assessment Tool is also provided to help you assess your team's present Lean maturity level and readiness to implement the principles of lean into your organization.

Compatible Simulations

The LeanMan suggests using the Deluxe PLUS HEIJUNKA Car Factory Simulation in the following simulations:

Learning to See the Waste

This executive level 2-Step simulation is the simplest event to run but packs a big WOW factor. It requires just one Car Factory Kit per team. Plus, with the laminated participant instruction placemats, it's so easy to perform that single person can easily facilitate five or more teams, making it great for large audiences and conventions.

  • Group Size: 5-8
  • Duration: 100 min.
  • Steps: 2
Car Factory Simulation

This 4-step simulation uses one Car Factory Kit per team, and a single facilitator can easily run 2 or 3 teams in parallel for a little competition and metrics comparison. This simulation event is also provided as an editable set of files on the USB drive that allow customization to the facilitator's specific target training needs.

  • Group Size: 5-8
  • Duration: 100 min.
  • Steps: 4
Large Group Simulation

Purchased as a separate supporting product (it is included in the Grand Package), this simulation is used with multiple Car Factory Kits to expand the event size to accommodate larger groups for an introductory Lean experience. The 4-step simulation is designed as an introduction to Lean for variable sized groups of participants in the four main flow methods.

  • Group Size: 5-39
  • Duration: 60-150 min.
  • Steps: 2 or 4
TPS Simulation

The Toyota Production System (TPS) simulation is a 5-step event which uses the training methods generally recognized as the Toyota method for introducing lean flow. This method focus more on flow and eliminating process waste and less on reducing the number of human elements in the process.

  • Group Size: 8-12
  • Duration: 110 min.
  • Steps: 5
Heijunka Simulation

The “Leveling the Waves” presentation presents an alternate way of approaching the function of master scheduling and planning for a lean manufacturing environment. This presentation event is part of the Deluxe-Plus Heijunka Training Package.

  • Group Size: 8-12
  • Duration: 190 min.
  • Steps: 3
VSMgt Service & Repair Center

Purchased as a separate supporting product (it is included in the Grand Package), this 3 step simulation exercise will explore the service side of the car factory, so instead of assembling new cars, we repair them. Value Stream Management concepts are used to improve flow door-to-door in this unique and fun exercise. This simulation requires purchase of at least one of the LeanMan Car Factory Kits or Deluxe Packages.

  • Group Size: 9-12
  • Duration: 140 min.
  • Steps: 3

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    • The games are a fun way to learn the philosophies of the Toyoda family that form the foundation of the Toyota Production System. This is a GREEN item, Files only on USB - no printed materials.

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      • Value Stream Management concepts applied to service and repair are explored with this fun alternative simulation designed to be used with the LeanMan Car Factory Kit. This is a GREEN item, Files only on USB - no printed materials.