A major contribution of Japanese developments in manufacturing is the management of throughput time. The Japanese have accomplished much in this area, mainly by switching from push to pull manufacturing. In push manufacturing, the sales forecast drives the production plan, and goods are produced in large batches (or jobs). Each machine performs its operation on the batch, and then the entire job waits until the operation can be started on the next machine in the sequence.
In pull manufacturing, an idle machine pulls the next part from the previous machine as soon as that part is available. Theoretically, each job consists of a “batch” of one unit. As soon as machine A completes its operation on unit 1, machine B starts work on that unit, and machine A begins on unit 2. The advantages of pull manufacturing include shorter production runs, continuous flow operations, reduced work-in-process and finished goods inventories, and reduced floor space.
What are the differences between push manufacturing and pull manufacturing?