Back to Basics: Pull is an essential part of Lean

Monday, March 12th, 2012 : 0 Comments

Pull is an essential element of Lean. The goal is eliminating waste.

Pull allows for just in time inventory management. Rather than pushing inventory to the floor (whether it is needed or not), as some computer-based methods do, pull relies on indications of customer demand to replenish parts – and then in just the right amount. New material is produced only after existing inventory has been consumed, thus eliminating waste.

Pull is traditionally implemented using a Kanban (meaning card in Japanese) system where each widget travels with a card. When the widget is used in production, the card is removed and signals that more widgets are needed. In environments like automotive, cards work well because:

  • a limited number of parts are used
  • production volume is high,
  • customer demand is stable,
  • product mix is low and
  • equipment changeovers are infrequent.

Pull can be adapted to diverse manufacturing environments, with a just a few changes. To learn more about pull, download our white paper, Four Flavors of Pull Manufacturing for Getting and Staying Lean.

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