Completely Taktless! What Is Pull in the Context of the Process Industries?

  • Stewart Stevenson
  • Pauline FoundEmail author
Part of the Measuring Operations Performance book series (MEOP)


The widespread implementation of lean in discrete manufacturing has changed the face of those businesses with mechanisms such as setup reduction, bounded WIP, takt time, level scheduling and other elements of pull production aimed at reducing variation to create flow with minimal inventory, improving lead time, cost and service. While in the process industries, much is written regarding traditional approaches to planning and production control (PPC), the lean paradigm and pull production remain largely unadopted. This paper explores the nature of process industries and inadequacy of existing taxonomies to understand the underlying complexity, which significantly impacts planning and production control. Definitions and principles of pull are considered alongside existing process sector PPC and the fundamentals of demand, capacity and variation, to demonstrate that a contingent approach, which considers the environment is required. A manufacturing case study is used to confirm the underlying complexity and explain how the inherent variation and resulting trade-offs impact the applicability of discrete pull mechanisms with potential process manufacturing pull definition and mechanisms concluded. Furthermore, a pull system implementation in the case company operation is examined and simulated concluding the fundamental importance of sequence to flow and pull in process manufacturing and its impact on capacity, utilisation, waste and service.


Lean Pull Process industries Production planning 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SkrettingPrestonUK
  2. 2.Buckingham Business SchoolUniversity of BuckinghamBuckinghamUK

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