Push System

  • Focuses on maximizing output, optimization of resource utilization (man and machine)
  • A traditional system of production and material planning
  • Relies on Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Production is often in monthly buckets
  • Computer generated schedules
  • Production is usually in batches at every work station
  • Long lead times
  • No visual signals

Pull System

  • MRP used for long term planning and forecasting only
  • Production tied to actual demand
  • Inventory is reduced, lead time is reduced, material turnover greatly enhanced
  • Abnormalities and variation is exposed, quality improves
  • Relies on visual signals


A system of continuous supply of components, parts and supplies, such that workers have what they need, where they need it, when they need it. – Japanese: Kan = “card”, ban = “signal”, so… Kanban means “signal cards” – Continuous (automatic) replenish of a small stock required to perform a job; a part of “Just in ‘Time” inventory – Required by a “pull” system, since downstream demand triggers replenishment.

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