There is uninterrupted material flow through to customers
Improving the flow of materials through the supply chain is a critical success factor for manufacturing. The faster they flow, the shorter the lead time and less cash is needed to fund work in progress. In a manufacturing business, the percentage of time spent adding value to components compared to overall time they are in the factory is very often less that 5%.
Key Issues
·         Supply chain processes, from suppliers, through manufacturing and on to customers should ideally be designed to have an uninterrupted flow
·         The production schedule for obtaining materials and the actual production plan must be accurate, achievable and made available to everyone in your company involved in manufacturing operations and supply chains
·         Materials from the supply base and internal manufacturing should be pulled through, into assembly operations, using the production/delivery plan
·         Materials should be classified into:
o      low value items that are replenished on an ‘as used basis’,
o      key components, regularly used, controlled using Kanbans
o      high value components, planned individually, if necessary, using a computer system
·         Rules for making changes to the production schedules must be agreed
·         Preferred suppliers should be capable of delivering quality assured items directly to production without the need for further inspection
·         Batch sizes should be significantly reduced for expensive key components
·         Where volumes permit, manufacturing facilities should be organised into well-equipped, customer-focused modules manned by self-directed multi-skilled teams
·         Invest, where necessary, in appropriate new equipment. It should be process-capable, with short changeover times and, ideally, able to perform several operations
·         Changeover times on bottleneck machines must be reduced and should be a focus for continuous improvement team activities
·         Daily inspection and preventive maintenance routines must ensure equipment is available for production whenever needed
·         Monitor supplier and internal manufacturing through-put times as key performance measures and aim to continually reduce them
·         Train people in the techniques needed to improve the flow of materials
Factors for Success      
Factors to  Avoid
1.     People are aware of the importance of improving material flow
2.     The production plan pulls items through the supply chain
3.     Changeover times are reducing
4.     Batch / Kanban sizes are reducing
5.     All information used by suppliers and operations is apt and accurate
1.     Relying on complex MRP computer systems to control the flow of materials
2.     Allowing bottlenecks to create build-ups of work in progress
3.     Using permanent stores for holding work in progress
4.     Manufacturing deciding what it will make based on its own agenda
5.     Over-production
Who does this apply to?
Senior managers, people involved in operations and supplies management, everyone responsible for improving the effectiveness of the business
Realisable Benefits
Improved flow releases cash and increases the accuracy of planning production


Logistics co-ordinationLogistics co-ordination

Logistics co-ordination

Uninterrupted material flowUninterrupted material flow

Uninterrupted material flow

Responding to changes in volumes and product mixResponding to changes in volumes and product mix

Responding to changes in volumes and product mix

Make versus buyMake versus buy

Make versus buy

The supplier approval processThe supplier approval process

The supplier approval process

Monitoring supplier performanceMonitoring supplier performance

Monitoring supplier performance

Sharing information with suppliersSharing information with suppliers

Sharing information with suppliers

Managing inventory throughout the supply chainManaging inventory throughout the supply chain

Managing inventory throughout the supply chain

Improving the delivery performance of suppliersImproving the delivery performance of suppliers

Improving the delivery performance of suppliers

Material flow and the factoryMaterial flow and the factory

Material flow and the factory

Production scheduling processProduction scheduling process

Production scheduling process

Calculating production capacityCalculating production capacity

Calculating production capacity

Visual managementVisual management

Visual management

Health and safetyHealth and safety

Health and safety





Ensuring equipment is availableEnsuring equipment is available

Ensuring equipment is available





Consistent manufacturingConsistent manufacturing

Consistent manufacturing