Last updated 23/05/2023
Last time I have written an article on comparing Scrum, Lean, Kanban, where I mentioned PULL and PUSH systems. In this article, I will describe the PUSH & PULL systems, their benefits, and I have also covered some of the critical aspects of the PULL system as that has been used across all Agile methodologies, frameworks, and processes. Apart from all this, I have also touched on some of the aspects of e-Kanban; I hope this article will make all of you understand the details of PUSH and PULL systems, their benefits, and a lot more of it.
Pull systems is the manufacturing system, where production is based on actual daily demands, and the information flows from the market to management. Like just in time system. It permits the person doing the work to pull in tasks when they are ready. It prevents people from feeling overloaded, and it forces people to prioritize.
Push systems are the manufacturing system, where production is based on the projected production plan, and the information here flows from management to market, like Maximum retail price. In the Push system, the work is given to a person, and the entire work is put into a massive to-do list. In this system, the person or the team commits to some amount of work in advance.
The pull system has limited inventory; it's customer-centric; it can improve the cash flow, and its make to order. Whereas the Push system has a high list, it's producer centric, it can make to stock, and the demands are based on forecasting.
For the Pull system, a good system balance must be in place; the setup time for the pull system will impact throughput, any problems with the pull system will lead to unhappy customers, and each of the jobs is a high-stress rush order job. In comparison, a push system can generate a large quantity of scrap before errors are discovered. It also requires the maintenance of large and complex databases and maintains adequate product flow; it requires much diligence.
As I have mentioned, the Push and Pull system with its advantages and disadvantages, so now let's understand the practicality of the same
In the current world, customers are demanding innovative and high-quality products at a lower price. It is only one part of the market demand. On top of this high delivery reliability, short delivery time, combined with substantial flexibility, is also in need. To meet such a requirement, all the organizations must organize themselves accordingly. In the evolving time, production and logistics areas play a critical role, and the decisive factor for the optimization of the system is the fast and flexible production system, which depends on the real customer demand. To fulfill this purpose, a PULL system plays a significant role and offers advantages over the traditional PUSH system.
Kanban is often used in the context of the PULL System/ process to control the overall flow of the materials/ production. A comprehensive Kanban system where external suppliers are connected can be prone to errors, and it is not very clear simultaneously. An Electronic Kanban system can be a better recommendation to support and optimize the process in such a condition. It is also known as e-Kanban.
Now imagine that simple visual methods and processes control the production process without the use of central planning and control of the complex ERP/ MRP system or other SCM systems. I know this is unthinkable, but many world-class companies have proven that consumption-based processes can be realized through Kanban. Unfortunately, a manual PULL system can reach its limits quickly, and it can be a clear disadvantage. The employees' effort for the software and technical support of the processes can be significantly reduced by facilitating daily management of the entire Kanban system. It makes the processes more transparent and safer. The visualization and targeted evaluation's versatility helped the processes and the whole systems noticeable and helped improve them continuously. So, e-Kanban is becoming essential for those companies who wanted to achieve the constant pull system.
There are many advantages that e-Kanban offers like great versatility, creating clear, transparent and flexible processes, and improving the systems continually. It can help transition complex forecast-based planning systems to a flexible and straightforward e-Kanban system with the integrated performance measurement. Usually, an e-Kanban driven pull system can be adjusted continuously, and it can be improved based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle as the pulled system is being used everywhere in e-Kanban. So, net-net e-Kanban can become a robust universal tool for all the lean production activities for the future to ensure an organization's long-term competitiveness.
As I have mentioned, the Pull system allows "Just-in-time" delivery of work. There are other contrasting work processes, which helps the team member work on other different things simultaneously. A Pull system allows the team member to focus on one thing at a time. There are some key attributes of PULL systems, and those are namely:
So, when something changes that impacts the business requirement, the team can quickly adapt by knowing that most of the work is already accomplished and can still be applied to the Project. Teams using the pull system become a self-managed team to a certain extent because the system can scale up the team or the ability for a team to accommodate different sized projects while remaining consistent.
The PUSH & PULL system becomes inevitable when it comes to Agile Framework, methodologies, and processes. More common in the Agile world is the PULL System, which provides the freedom to the entire Project team as the actual production is based on daily demands, and it helps the team not to feel overloaded. The more practical aspect of the PULL system can be seen in Kanban and scrum methodology.
***Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are my own. I have articulated this article based on my experience and observation in my 15+ years of a professional career. I understand that learning agile through multiple articles will only help you learn it in bits and pieces. If someone is really interested in learning more about the PULL & PUSH systems and other aspects of Agile frameworks, Processes and Methodologies, I would highly recommend getting in touch with the NovelVista team at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am sure they will definitely help you out and satisfy you in expanding your knowledge quest. They have a wide range of Scrum and Agile certification and training, which will definitely help all needs and flavor you are looking out for. If anyone of you wanted to learn more about PMO functions, Project Management framework, and for other collaboration, please connect with me over LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhishek-pmp/; I will try my best to help you out.***
Abhishek Mishra aims to create a new platform or forum to facilitate discussion when people or leaders feel stuck and confused or unable to add value. He wanted to create a platform where people help and support each other, where there is no gender differentiation and where people become role models for each other. As a writer, he has been accomplished and accolades in several platforms for expressing his feelings through his words. He has written multiple articles that many professionals liked over platforms like LinkedIn, PModay.co.uk, PM Times, and Medium.com. When he is not writing books, you can find him doing project management. When he is not doing either of these, then you can find him trying out new cuisines. He is good at cooking and cooked multiple cuisines to date, but he has a specialization in baking fabulous cakes. Oh, man! It would be best if you tried his cakes and pastries. He is the kind of person who has loads of energy and does not like to sit idle. His first book, The Book of Powerful & Exceptional Quotes, launched in May-2020, the second book, Stereotypical Leadership, Launched in July, the third book, Envisioning PMO & Project Management through a Jugglers Eye, is scheduled to be launched on 27th Dec 2020 He has got stunning writing skills, Culinary skills, and strong management skills; not just that, he is also a process-oriented person. In a way, he always keeps trying different things, and this shows his inquisitive nature too. Professionally he is a seasoned project manager with 14+ years of experience; he has been associated with multiple non-profitable groups to learn and discover ways to help the community and society.
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