When I was a kid I learned to play ping-pong on a homemade table. The boards were not made from one piece, but were made from planks that had been assembled. With time and playing in the garden, the wood had worked, the boards had spread, bent, deformed - it never stopped us from playing hard games, but the bounces were quite unpredictable!
Have you ever watched a relay race? Each runner gives the best of his performance for his portion of the race, and passes the baton to the next runner in a predefined area.
In a 4x100m relay, to pass the baton there is a 20m transmission zone: 10m before the 100m, and 10m after. This zone is materialized on the ground, to allow the athletes to adjust their actions. Passing the relay before or [...]
A Demand Driven Buffer, what's that?
In the Demand Driven jargon we talk about "buffers" of different types. What are they used for? How do they work? This post introduces some basic concepts, which are explored in detail in the Demand Driven Institute's training courses.
In one of my previous lives, I was responsible for a supply chain where most of the suppliers were in Asia, supplying our European factories and distribution centres by sea.
Historically our service was poor and our inventory was overflowing everywhere. Our Chinese or Thai suppliers only accepted monthly orders, and imposed at least 2 months of firm orders on their production plan - our [...]
Since the 1990s, the Western automotive industry has widely adopted the practices derived from the Toyota production system. 5S, continuous improvement is the daily life of automotive suppliers.
Pull flow - formerly known as Just in Time - is at the heart of these practices. It is facilitated by the fact that the automotive upstream supply chain is clocked by the car manufacturers' [...]
Pull Flow, an Old Story...
In 1987, as a young engineer at Philips, I had the chance to take part in a study trip to Japan and visit about ten companies there. In most of them you could see in each workshop card boards. In one of the factories I asked our guide what it was. He was astonished that I asked the question - it was so obvious: it is a Kanban board, to replenish supplies. That is [...]
If you flip a coin, you have a 50/50 chance of winning. As long as the coin is evenly weighted and the coin flipper isn’t playing a trick on you, it’s going to come up heads or tails a roughly even number of times. There may be situations where it comes up one or the other more frequently, but those are outliers that even out the more times you flip the coin.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" Leonardo da Vinci
Over the last few decades, manufacturers and distributors have made huge technological investments in their supply chains. At the same time, we’ve invested heavily in developing sophisticated supply chain management processes. Too often, however, any similarity between our technologies (ERP, DRP, APS, etc.) and our processes is a [...]