Assembly line workers are tasked with performing a specified task, numerous times each day, as their role in the assembly of a product. Parts are added sequentially in most cases, moving along the line from worker to worker. Products like computers, televisions, cars, and many other mechanical or electronic items are manufactured this way. However, in some operations entire workgroups perform certain tasks, as opposed to just one worker doing it. On occasion, workgroups can be responsible for performing several similar tasks, with workers rotating between the different jobs to prevent boredom.
Assembly lines are usually highly specialized. So for example, if a screw needs to be driven into a pre-made hole, there will be one worker to drill the holes and another to drive in the screws. Sometimes workers are given multiple tasks, but these will almost always be closely-related. For example, the worker may have to drill a different number of holes per product. If workers have to switch tools or jobs this can slow down assembly lines significantly.
Assembly line strategies try to avoid unnecessary movement, like picking up different tools, as this is a waste of time. With that in mind, most assembly line jobs are designed to require minimal movement, with workers trained to do the task in a specified, efficient manner. Workers are not allowed to deviate from this, and in many cases they will be monitored by supervisors. Workers should not bother themselves with other tasks, as other workers have been assigned to take care of these.
It’s of paramount importance that the assembly line is kept moving at all times. Therefore, workers are not permitted to leave their stations while the line is running, because that means tasks won’t be done, therefore backing the line up. As such, assembly line workers are to be given periodic rest breaks which are taken together, with the line shut down for these rest periods. Workers should ensure their personal needs are met during these breaks; however, most operations will have a contingency plan in case of an emergency when a worker has to leave.
American society changed beyond all measure with the introduction of the assembly line to the manufacturing sector. It meant that skilled craftsmen were no longer needed in many operations, and semi-skilled workers could be paid good wages for performing individual tasks. Factories manufactured their products in much faster time frames than before, which meant the cost of products came down rapidly, allowing the masses to purchase one-time luxuries like automobiles very easily.
This article was brought to you by the Norwegian company Pall-Pack. Tejpmaskin is Norwegian for Tapemachine. Pall-Pack is a major supplier of both semi and automatic tapemachines, for more information see their website.