Push Vs Pull

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					Push Vs Pull                                                                                                                              11/6/11 2:18 PM

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 Push Vs Pull System

          Push System: In a push system, releases are scheduled. So, throughput is determined by a exogenously set release rate
          (given by the Master Production Schedule). Since the releases are linked to orders (or forecasts), a push system is controlled
          by upstream information and is inherently make-to-order. In terms of our nomenclature, open lines are push systems because
          they have no endogenous restriction on releases to the line.

          Pull System: In a pull system, releases are authorized. That is, there is an endogenous signal based on system status that
          determines whether a release is allowed or not.    In particular, the system status that triggers releases is based on stock voids,
          which means that a pull system is controlled by downstream information and is inherently make-to-stock. In our
          nomenclature, closed lines are pull systems, because buffer spaces act as stock voids to trigger releases.

                                                            Push versus Pull System

 Push/Pull Interface

 It is not necessary that a production line be pure push or pure pull. One can design a line so that a segment of the line operates as
 push and the another segment operates as pull. We present a specific example to illustrate this.


 Consider two hypothetical fast food centers, Custom Taco and Quick Taco. In both the systems raw material (uncooked food and
 packaging material) is cooked, assembled and packaged before being sold to the customer. However, the two systems use a different
 push/pull interface to achieve different performance from the system.

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Push Vs Pull                                                                                                                          11/6/11 2:18 PM

                                                          Production system for Custom Taco

 The Custom Taco production line is shown in the figure above. The refrigerator for stocking the raw material is run according to a pull
 system. That is, the order for refilling the refrigerator is released when the level of a particular item reaches its reorder point.
 Everything beyond the refrigerator is run according to a push system. That is, food items are produced in response to customer orders
 (which represent a schedule) that determines the release rate for the items. The transition between the pull system and the push
 system occurs between the refrigerator and the cooking stage and therefore represents the push/pull interface for the system.

                                                        Production system for Quick Taco

 In contrast, consider the Quick Taco production line illustrated above. The processes are the same as for the Custom Taco line.
 However, we have added a warming table after the assembly stage which stores a predetermined level of assembled, but not bagged
 food items (Assembly puts wrappers on individual items, while packaging puts them into bags to fill orders.) Hence, the line before
 the warming table operates as a pull system, since releases are triggered by removal of items from stock. Beyond the warming table,
 the line operates as a push system, since items are moved in response to customer orders.

 In terms of system performance, the Custom Taco line is well-suited to a high degree of product variety. Inventory is held in its most
 generic form (raw material) and hence inventory costs are low. However, this line may not be responsive from a service standpoint,
 since the customer sees the entire production time as lead time. The Quick Taco line is more responsive, since the customer sees
 only the time to package and sell the items. However, it has more inventory because items are stocked at the assembled level.

 The tradeoff involved in moving the push/pull interface closer to the customer is one of trading higher inventory for faster delivery.
 The most attractive place to locate the push/pull interface depends on customer expectations as well as costs. Costs are strongly
 dependent on how rapidly the product proliferates as it traverses the production line. For instance, in a line that produces a single
 product (e.g., ball point pens), there is little difference between the cost of holding inventory as raw materials or finished goods
 inventory. Hence, in such a system, it may make sense to put the push/pull interface at finished goods inventory and run the entire
 system as in make-to-stock mode. On the other hand, in a system where every order is customized after the first step in the process
 (e.g., a machine shop that does custom prototyping), there is no choice but to hold inventory at the raw material level and run the
 system in make-to-order mode.

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Push Vs Pull                                                                                                                              11/6/11 2:18 PM

 For most lines, where there is some product proliferation, an intermediate push/pull interface may make sense. For instance, in the
 Quick Taco line, the warming table can be placed after assembly because there are relatively few items (e.g., three taco types and
 two burrito types). But placing the warming table after packaging would not be feasible, since the number of products (i.e., all
 possible combinations of bags of tacos and burritos) would be too large. Hence, the cost versus delivery speed tradeoff is strongly
 affected by the rate of product proliferation and therefore the proper placement of the push/pull interface is a highly individualized
 decision for a given production system.

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http://www.factoryphysics.com/Principle/Station/Asynch/Open/InfinOpen/IBOL_PushPull.htm                                                        Page 3 of 3

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