If you remember Dr. Dolittle, chances are you remember the fanciful beast in his menagerie, the pushmi-pullyu (pronounced pushmepullyou). For those who were deprived of this childhood experience, the pushmi-pullyu was an animal with two heads, two sets of front legs and no backside to speak of. The constant dilemma for the pushmi-pullyu was the inability to settle on a course or direction. Trying to move in two directions at the same time is not a recipe for success.
In a sense, the pushmepullyou is a manufacturing model that many companies unfortunately emulate. They aren’t purely demand oriented and yet, they aren’t exclusively in a push mode either. The result, especially in an economic down turn, is increased inventory levels, increased conveyance, increased WIP and increased over production. The classic wastes will rear their collective heads, in this type of downturn, with a vengeance.
But, this is also a time of great opportunity. There is not a better environment in which to migrate over to a more demand centric, pull oriented manufacturing model. Could it possibly make any more sense to go with demand manufacturing now, when the orders are fewer and less urgent?
Inventory in most cases is not like wine . . . it doesn’t get better with age.
So, if you’re sitting on a mountain of parts, supplies or finished product, you have limited options. Have your blow out sale, move the inventory at a loss. But from this day forward, you can greatly reduce this size of this problem by moving to the demand model. You don’t ship what’s not sold, you don’t build what’s not ordered and you don’t stock supplies for product that you won’t build.
Check out the Demand-driven-strategies White Paper. It’s a great way to get started.
This is a great time to make your move.