We are often asked during Pull implementation projects: “Should we fix all of the major issues in our process before we make the big switch to Pull?” The concern is that trying to overlay a new approach over an imperfect process creates a risk for stock outs. Though this concern is valid, we almost always recommend taking the plunge and implementing pull first.
One reason for this is because we typically recommend keeping overall inventory levels stable at first. After the switch to Pull the inventory reductions will become apparent, and will be very manageable.
Here’s another reason why
The ‘Pull First’ approach (a term coined by one of our customers) eliminates one of the leading reasons for delays in an implementation: analysis paralysis. Anytime you want to get things working perfectly before taking action, you will never be comfortable ‘jumping in the pool’. If the correct Pull Design has been implemented and the correct tools are in place to create visibility into the inventory and orders present in the material flow, then all of the imperfections that were identified earlier (and others that weren’t) will be painfully obvious to all stakeholders and addressing them will become easier in a Pull approach.
So we find that it is easier, more efficient and more productive to take the plunge and jump into Pull. Any problems you uncover can be more easily identified and fixed in a Pull process.
Post by Charlie Agullla, VP Consulting