As I mentioned last week, for many of our Pull implementation engagements, one question often comes up: “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 (particularly one that typically is accompanied by a reduction in inventory buffers) over an imperfect process creates a high risk for increased stock outs and a lower customer service level. Though this concern is certainly valid, we almost always recommend taking the plunge and implementing pull first.
Here’s one reason why:
The notion that converting to Pull needs to be accompanied by a reduced inventory level is a falsehood. We typically recommend keeping overall inventory levels stable at first (though how this inventory is allocated is often changed). The switch to Pull is already a shock to the system. There is no reason to introduce a second shock. The inventory reductions will come soon enough, in a very identifiable and less-shocking manner.
Stay tuned for an even better reason next week.
Post by Charlie Agullla, VP Consulting