American industrialists recognized the threat of cheap offshore labor to American workers during the 1910s, and explicitly stated the goal of what is now called lean manufacturing as a countermeasure. Henry Towne, past President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers , wrote in the Foreword to Frederick Winslow Taylor's Shop Management (1911), "We are justly proud of the high wage rates which prevail throughout our country, and jealous of any interference with them by the products of the cheaper labor of other countries. To maintain this condition, to strengthen our control of home markets, and, above all, to broaden our opportunities in foreign markets where we must compete with the products of other industrial nations, we should welcome and encourage every influence tending to increase the efficiency of our productive processes." [ citation needed ]
I am curious about what you consider the perfect description of a pull and push system as defined by Hopp and Spearman; “A pull production system is one that explicitly limits the amount of work in process that can be in the system.” Where does this ‘limit’ come from? From forecasting based on how much product the company thinks it will sell, or is it based on actual sales and market analysis to determine how much product may be sold.
The reason for my question is because I worked for a company that manufactures and sells consumer electronic goods. The biggest issue they still face is excess inventory. Too much inventory at warehouses across the globe because the products are not selling as much as they hoped or forecasted. But this does not prevent them from running their mfg plants around the clock. If the warehouses are full of product why keep making more product? Shouldn’t the excess inventory be considered the ‘limit’ the WIP?
Gustavo Lopez Ghory joined Procter & Gamble in 1981 as an MSG/PSF Team Manager at the CCS Plant in Venezuela. Over the last 35 years he has held roles of increasing responsibility within Procter & Gamble overseeing both manufacturing and supply chain functions. Gustavo is passionate about leadership and what it takes to be a good leader. He has coached baseball for 11 years, has been a member of the Board of the Foundation of Education for the Americas since 2000, and is an active runner and cyclist. He now lives in Geneva, Switzerland with his wife and five children.