What the customer wants: Making at the pull of the customer

Wood, Nigel
June 2004
Management Services;Jun2004, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p16
Academic Journal
This article focuses on how one can meet customer requirements, as opposed to using a push system in which entrepreneurs force product through the value stream to meet anticipated demand. A pull system is a simple, visual method of automating stock replenishment, be it finished product, intermediate components or raw materials. The aim of such a system is to achieve 100% delivery performance in both quantity and timeliness. There are four reasons as to why entrepreneurs would choose to use a pull system, and these are to provide an immediate alignment of customer demand; to regulate stock in the process, thereby facilitating stock reduction; to automate the demand alignment process; and to allow the use of stock as a buffer against process variability until such can be eliminated. Similarly there are four occasions as to when pull systems would be used, and these are when product demand is predictable or holding stock is a low risk; to visually signal the need for immediate stock replenishment when stock replenishment is manual and complex; and when there is a need to reduce time and resources currently used in the demand alignment process. In addition, pull systems are not universally applicable and we need to be mindful of their limitations.


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