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A Lean Manufacturing Educational Model: Flexible Low Cost Linking Of Manufacturing Planning To Customer Requirements

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Lean Manufacturing Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.53.1 - 9.53.12

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Paper Authors

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Robert Seaker

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Jignesh Rathod

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Farouk Attia

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Lean Manufacturing Educational Model: Flexible Low-Cost Linking of Manufacturing Planning to Customer Requirements Farouk Attia, Ph.D., Robert Seaker, Ph.D., Jignesh Rathod, M.S. University of Houston, College of Technology, Houston, Texas.


Recent trends in Lean Manufacturing have an implied optimal target of zero inventory levels at all stages of the manufacturing system. Some volume of inventory however, may be necessary to smooth production flow inside the factory while reducing lead times, thus increasing overall profitability. One approach may be to introduce optimum levels of Work-in-Process (WIP) inventory at key stages4 of the manufacturing system. This paper presents a Lean Manufacturing Model (LMM) which can be used in teaching Manufacturing Engineering students about computer simulation. This efficiently links flexible, low-cost manufacturing planning to customer requirements. Through computer simulation and modeling, the concepts of WIP deployment and management utilizing real production data from a worldwide manufacturer and distributor clearly demonstrates that flexible, low-cost manufacturing can be achieved through the implementation of a hybrid push-pull production and distribution system and strategically deploying work-in-process inventories at key points within the system.


The manufacturing industry is undergoing major changes in the way products are configured. Mass customization is forcing manufacturers to respond to specific customer requirements and yet they are expected to make products efficiently, typically through larger quantities and scale of operations. Global market demands have led to three distinct forms of production planning and control systems: the conventional manufacture-to-stock or the ”Push” system, the Just-in- Time (JIT) manufacture-to-order or the “Pull” system, and a “hybrid” push-pull system based on delayed product differentiation. The hybrid system is the most difficult to optimize regarding overall system operations because it entails frequent integration of product design, process configuration, inventory requirements, and post-manufacturing delivery constraints.

Meanwhile, recent trends in lean manufacturing either directly or imply a target inventory level of zero at all stages of the supply chain. It is argued, however, that inventory is necessary in many instances to help smooth the production flow inside the factory and to reduce “order to ship times”, thus increasing the overall profitability through higher sales at minimized total cost. One approach to reaching this state is to introduce optimum levels of Work-in-Process (WIP) inventory into key stages of the production system.

The study is inspired by a current research on strategic deployment of Work-in-Process (WIP), or safety stocks, for flexible low-cost manufacturing system by the same authors4. The authors have discovered that the direction toward low cost, flexible, and highly customer responsive Proceedings of the 2004 American society for Engineering Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Seaker, R., & Rathod, J., & Attia, F. (2004, June), A Lean Manufacturing Educational Model: Flexible Low Cost Linking Of Manufacturing Planning To Customer Requirements Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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