By Bill Swisher, Director of Business Development, Ultriva Inc.
Lean manufacturing has become the de facto best practice across most manufacturing companies. Companies that have embraced lean principles have reduced their lead-times, improved quality, lowered inventory and engaged their employees. An important element of many companies’ lean initiative has been the implementation of pull-based material replenishment systems, often referred to as Kanban.
The reason Kanban is pointed to as a key enabler of lean manufacturing efforts is that material availability is paramount to a factory’s ability to respond to changes in demand. Regardless of how flexible or efficient a manufacturing company is, how committed its employees are, how well-designed or balanced a plant is, the bottom line is that without the necessary parts or material, stock-outs will occur and shipments are missed.