The Best Time to Kick Off a Continuous Improvement Initiative

Prosperity is perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to continuous improvement in manufacturing. When things are going well, we don’t feel the need to make improvements quite as keenly. For example, instead of focusing on removing waste in our factories to become more cost competitive, we might opt to add capacity so we can keep up with demand. There really is no better time to make improvements than when things

Fast Results Using TOC for Demand-Driven Manufacturing – Part Two

Manufacturers use constraints management first to gain the most demand-driven change Last time, we talked about focusing on enterprise improvements rather than local efficiencies using constraints management (TOC). We discussed that continuous improvement tools such as TOC, Lean and Six Sigma work like “sandpaper” on an organization’s processes, smoothing various stages of their demand-driven journey. I likened TOC to the “coarse” grit of sandpaper—the one to use first to get

How the Internet of Things Can Shorten Lead Times

A new study in Modern Materials Handling reports that 86% of industrial organizations are currently adopting IoT (Internet of Things) solutions, and 84% believe those solutions are very or extremely effective. Manufacturers lagged behind the industrial segment as a whole, with only 77% of manufacturers implementing IoT in their facilities. So, what is holding manufacturers back? Anecdotally, I can share that many of the manufacturers I talk to intend to

Time to Revisit Your Constraints

    We talk a lot about constraints management in our work with customers who are implementing Demand-Driven Manufacturing (DDM) in their facilities. That’s because constraints management is fundamental for synchronizing the pace of production and keeping the demand (orders) flowing throughout the shop floor. But, our focus is naturally on physical constraints, e.g., that piece of equipment or workstation that is preventing you from delivering on time or offering

FAQ: Can I Use Demand-Driven Manufacturing in a Make-to-Stock Environment?

Demand-Driven Manufacturing seems like it was made for Make/Assemble-to-Order and Engineer-to-Order environments. It’s true that Demand-Driven Manufacturing can be beneficial for manufacturers who already produce goods based on customer demand because it improves their responsiveness to customers and lowers lead and cycle times. Demand-Driven Manufacturing is a method of manufacturing where production is based on actual customer orders (demand) rather than a forecast. But what about Make-to-Stock environments? These manufacturers

Why Demand-Driven Manufacturing is Focused on Metrics for Action

Driving Continuous Improvement. In Demand-Driven Manufacturing, there is only one measurement that is important to drive performance:  Throughput. There are two subordinate measurements: Inventory and Operating Expense.  These three measurements cover the gambit of what needs to be measured because they are directly related to customer orders, cash captured inside the organization, and the cash it takes to turn inventory into sales. Demand-driven managers know that having too many metrics