Tag Archives: Material Flow

Introduction to Milk Runs

Milk SplashMilk runs are a popular concept for material delivery within a plant and even across multiple plants. It is very much based on the philosophy of pull, keeping inventories down, and making material supply easier.

However, it is only suitable for mass-produced goods, or more precisely for identical components and identical parts, even if they go into different product variants. Additionally it can also be used with kitting. This post starts a series on the topic of milk run with an introduction to the topic. Continue reading Introduction to Milk Runs

What Is POLCA?

POLCA stands for Paired-Cell Overlapping Loops of Cards with Authorization and was developed by Rajan Suri around 1990. It is sometimes mentioned alongside kanban and CONWIP as a production control system. Let me explain to you how POLCA works. In my next post I look at the pros and cons of POLCA. In my last post of this mini-series, I will show you the calculation for the number of POLCA cards, including some critical comments.

The similar-sounding word Polka is also a Czech dance music and textile pattern, hence the colorful illustration of the polka dots on the left (don’t worry, more technical diagrams will follow below). Continue reading What Is POLCA?

Examples of Jidoka

In my last two posts I talked a lot about what jidoka is, and the underlying philosophy. Many articles do so. But there are almost no actual examples out there of jidoka. But without examples it is difficult to really understand a concept. A great historic example of this is the Toyoda Model G automatic loom from 1925. This is well known, but here I would like to show you how it connects to jidoka. I will also give you a more modern example of a product that you may even own.

Continue reading Examples of Jidoka

The Philosophy and Practicality of Jidoka

In my last post I explained what jidoka is (at least in my view). The key part is to stop the line for any irregularity, and resolve the problem.  Also try to make sure this irregularity does not happen again. However, this definition is far from universally accepted, and there are many different opinions. Here I will try to show the philosophical idea behind Jidoka as one of the two pillars of the Toyota Production System (the other is JIT). Continue reading The Philosophy and Practicality of Jidoka