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Push Production

Quick Definition

Opposite to pull production, push production is the process of manufacturing that uses market estimates rather than customer orders to initiate production. Push production is better suited for meeting market demand as in the system there will always be inventory available to be sold. As push production increases work-in-process and inventory on hand but is better suited for made-to-stock products.

What is Push Production?

Push production, often contrasted with pull production in the context of manufacturing and supply chain management, represents a traditional method of manufacturing that relies heavily on forecasting and predetermined production schedules rather than real-time customer demand.

In a push production system, inventory management decisions are made based on forecasts, historical data, and estimates of future customer demand. Products are produced in advance and pushed through the production line to retailers or distributors, where they are then made available for customers to purchase. This approach aims to ensure that products are readily available for immediate purchase, but it comes with several drawbacks, including the risk of overproduction and excess inventory.

Key elements and keywords associated with push production include:

  1. Forecasting: Push production heavily relies on forecasting techniques to estimate future customer demand and plan production accordingly.
  2. Customer Orders vs. Forecasts: Unlike pull systems that respond directly to customer orders, push systems produce goods based on forecasts, which can lead to discrepancies between actual customer demand and production levels.
  3. Lead Times: Push production may involve longer lead times, as products are often produced in advance and must be stored until they are needed.
  4. Excess Inventory: Push production can result in high inventory levels, including work-in-progress (WIP) and finished goods, which can increase carrying costs and the risk of obsolescence.
  5. Make-to-Stock: Push production is often associated with a make-to-stock strategy, where products are manufactured and stocked in anticipation of customer demand.
  6. Supply Chain Management: Managing a push-based supply chain requires effective coordination to ensure that products are delivered to retailers or distribution centers on time.
  7. Production Schedule: Production schedules are established in advance and may not be easily adjustable in response to changes in actual demand.
  8. Overproduction: One of the main challenges in push production is the potential for overproduction, where goods are produced in excess of what customers ultimately purchase.
  9. Hybrid Push-Pull: While push vs pull systems are less favored in modern manufacturing, some manufacturing environments employ a hybrid approach that combines elements of both push and pull systems to balance the need for immediate availability with cost-effective production.
  10. Just-in-Time (JIT) Manufacturing: Push production stands in contrast to JIT manufacturing, which is a core component of lean manufacturing and pull production systems.
  11. Inventory Costs: Push systems often incur higher inventory costs due to the storage and handling of excess inventory.
  12. Toyota and Lean Thinking: Toyota's success with implementing lean manufacturing principles, including the shift from push to pull production, has had a significant influence on modern manufacturing practices.

Modern manufacturing systems significantly impact push production by enabling a shift towards more efficient pull-based manufacturing strategies. Traditionally, push production relied on demand forecasts to dictate production volumes, often leading to excess inventory and inefficiencies. However, with the integration of advanced approaches like a Kanban system, Material Requirements Planning (MRP), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), manufacturers can focus on pull strategies and transition to pull manufacturing models.

These solutions empower manufacturers to respond dynamically to actual customer demand rather than relying on predictions. By synchronizing the production process with real-time information on raw materials, finished products, and inventory levels, manufacturers can achieve just-in-time manufacturing, minimize excess inventory, and reduce waste. This approach, often associated with industries like pharmaceuticals, enhances production efficiency, reduces costs, and ensures that manufacturers can consistently meet customer demand while optimizing their manufacturing processes.

In summary, push production represents a traditional method of manufacturing and supply chain management that relies on forecasts and predetermined production schedules to meet anticipated customer demand. While it ensures product availability, it can lead to challenges such as overproduction, high inventory costs, and reduced agility in responding to actual customer demand. In contrast, pull production systems, such as Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing, have gained popularity for their ability to minimize waste, reduce lead times, and optimize production based on real-time customer orders, ultimately improving efficiency and reducing costs.