Maximizing Efficiency of Pull System in Manufacturing

As a manufacturing business owner or operator, you understand the importance of manufacturing efficiency. One key area where efficiency can be improved is in the handling of materials and products during the manufacturing process. That's where a pull system in manufacturing comes in.

In this article, Viindoo Enterprise Management Software will bring the best understanding and practices for Manufacturers about Pull Systems. What is a pull system and how to implement it be properly and effectively?

What is a pull system in manufacturing?

A pull system is a lean manufacturing approach that focuses on reducing waste and improving efficiency in the production process. In a pull system, production is triggered by customer demand rather than being pushed by the manufacturer. It's also a method of material flow management that involves producing and moving materials only when they are needed by the next process. This means that the production process starts when a customer places an order, and provides materials based on demand, and the goal is to create a more efficient, cost-effective, and customer-focused manufacturing process.

Implementing a pull system requires careful planning and coordination between different departments and processes. It also requires visual signals, such as Kanban cards or electronic signals, to indicate when materials are needed and to track inventory levels.

Pull system vs push system

Implementing a pull system requires careful planning and coordination between different departments and processes. It also requires visual signals, such as Kanban cards or electronic signals, to indicate when materials are needed and to track inventory levels.

Push system vs pull system in manufacturing

Push system vs pull system in manufacturing 

A push system involves producing goods based on a forecast of customer demand. The manufacturer makes a certain amount of products based on this forecast in the hopes of having enough inventory on hand to fulfill those orders and then tries to sell them to customers, This approach requires a significant investment in inventory, as manufacturers must hold onto large quantities of finished goods in anticipation of future demand. The push system also creates a higher risk of overproduction, as manufacturers may produce too much of a particular product that ultimately goes unsold.

In contrast, a pull system is designed to produce goods only when they are needed. Manufacturers rely on customer demand to initiate the production process, rather than producing goods in anticipation of future orders. The pull system relies on a just-in-time (JIT) approach to production, work centers downstream from a particular process only request materials when they need them, rather than receiving them automatically from the upstream process. This creates a "pull" on materials through the production process, rather than a "push" from upstream processes, which focuses on producing the right amount of goods at the right time.

Push system
Pull system
DefinitionProduction is based on forecasted demand, a kind of make-to-stock principle
Production is based on actual customer demand, a kind of make-to-order principle
Lead time- Longer manufacturing lead times, as products are manufactured in batches based on forecasted demand.
- Quick response time, always ensure stock-on-hand availability.​​
- Shorter manufacturing lead times, as products are only manufactured when there is actual customer demand.
- Delayed response time due to dependency on pull signal of demand.
Inventory levelsHigher inventory levels, as manufacturers store finished goods in anticipation of future demand.Lower inventory levels, as manufacturers only produce what is needed to meet actual customer demand.

Higher risks of waste in​ overproduction or underutilization of materials. Lower risks of waste, as products are manufactured when needed.
Supplier reliability
Reduce dependency on suppliers. Mitigate this risk by building up inventory in advance of customer demand.
Depend heavily on suppliers to deliver materials and components in a timely manner. High risk If suppliers experience disruptions or delay
Flexibilityless flexible, as production schedules are driven by forecasted demand rather than actual customer demand.more flexible, as production schedules can be quickly adjusted to respond to changes in customer demand.
Cost- more inventory cost and ties up capital
- less setup cost since its uncomplexity
- less waste and inventory-holding costs
- more setup cost since its complexity
Customer satisfactionlower customer satisfaction, as they may not always meet the specific needs and expectations of individual customershigher customer satisfaction, as they can produce products to meet the specific needs and expectations of individual customers

Overall, implementing a pull system in manufacturing can take time, and effort to overcome challenges, but the benefits can be significant. By aligning production with customer demand, a pull system can help reduce waste, increase efficiency, and improve product quality. It can also lead to increased customer satisfaction and a competitive edge in the marketplace.

How can a pull system in manufacturing reduce waste and improve productivity?

Pull system in manufacturing helps reduce waste and improve productivity

Pull system in manufacturing helps reduce waste and improve productivity

Reducing overproduction

One of the most significant benefits of a pull system is that it helps reduce overproduction. Overproduction leads to excess inventory, increased storage costs, and an increased chance of obsolescence. A pull system ensures that production only takes place when a customer order is placed, leading to reduced waste and inventory costs.

Reducing inventory levels

By only producing what your customers need, you can minimize your inventory levels and free up your capital for other investments.

Decreasing lead time

A pull system helps to reduce lead time by producing products only when there is a demand for them. This results in a faster response time to customer orders, shorter production cycles, and faster delivery times.

Streamlining production

In a pull system, production is based on customer demand, and resources are allocated accordingly. This helps to streamline production processes, reduce bottlenecks and idle time, and makes processes more efficient.

Improving quality​

With a pull system, products are only produced when there is a demand for them, which helps to ensure that the products are of high quality. There is less chance of producing defective products, as the focus is on producing products that meet the customers' requirements. This results in a better reputation for the company and increased customer satisfaction.

What are some techniques for implementing a pull system in manufacturing?

Implementing a pull system can be challenging, especially if you don't know where to start. Here are some techniques to help you implement a pull system in your manufacturing process:

Standardize processes: Standardizing processes can help to ensure that work is done consistently and efficiently. This can lead to better quality products and faster lead times. Standardization also makes it easier to identify problems and areas for improvement.

Use visual management: Visual management involves using visual cues to communicate important information about production. This can include things like production schedules, inventory levels, and quality standards. Using visual management can help to improve communication and reduce errors.

Cross-train employees: Cross-training employees can help to ensure that there are no bottlenecks in the production process. When employees are trained to perform multiple tasks, they can move to where they are needed most, reducing lead times and improving productivity.

Use technology to track production: Technology can be a powerful tool for tracking production and ensuring that materials are ordered and delivered on time. Using software tools like Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can help to streamline production and reduce waste.

A pull system in manufacturing can bring a wide range of benefits to your business. Implementing a pull system in manufacturing is becoming increasingly important in today's business environment. With the rise of just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing and increasing customer demands for fast and high-quality products, a pull system can provide a framework for meeting these challenges. Furthermore, it can help businesses to become more agile and responsive to changes in the marketplace.

The future of pull systems in manufacturing is likely to continue to evolve with advancements in technology and changing customer demands. With the increasing adoption of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses can use real-time data to better align production with customer demand. Additionally, the rise of e-commerce and the need for faster and more personalized delivery options are likely to place greater emphasis on the importance of pull systems in manufacturing.

>>>> See more: Manufacturing software systems to optimize production processes

Maximizing Efficiency of Pull System in Manufacturing
Nguyễn Phương Dung 31 March, 2023

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