Push vs. Pull Manufacturing: What Are the Differences?

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Push vs. Pull Manufacturing: What Are the Differences?
Asian worker in factory at metal skip machine putting work piece in

Did you know that the U.S. manufacturing industry has a staggering market size of $6 trillion? There are over 683,000 businesses operating with more than 12 million employees.

Understanding both push manufacturing and pull manufacturing helps grasp how the industry works. Do you know the major differences between the two manufacturing styles?

The following guide will break down push vs. pull manufacturing. It will also explore both of their advantages. Read on to learn which manufacturing method is right for your business.

What Is Push Manufacturing?

A push system uses a predicted demand for manufactured products. So, production gets completed before the client orders the product.

Push systems also manage inventory by using the Material Requirements Planning method. MRP ensures that there are enough materials to stay on the production schedule. It also reduces excess inventory to save money.

However, modern customers often demand more customizable products that are less predictable. Many manufacturers use a mix of push, pull, and smart manufacturing to meet these demands.

Who Uses Push Manufacturing?

Push manufacturing is most beneficial for businesses that specialize in mass-producing single items. They usually include long production and delivery times.

Promotional items like books, electronics, and video games typically use push manufacturing. Seasonal clothing is another good example because its demand is very predictable.

What Is Pull Manufacturing?

Pull systems react directly to customer demands instead of predicting them. So, pull manufactured items only get made once a customer places their order.

Businesses save money on inventory with this method. Pull manufacturing also reduces overhead fees and stops overproduction. The basic idea is to have demand determine production while flowing steadily.

Businesses cut wasteful spending and free up storage by using pull manufacturing. However, precision is key when maintaining production rates and supply.

Who Uses Pull Manufacturing?

Coffee shops work well as an example of pull manufacturing. Customers might order a cold beverage or a hot beverage. Hot beverages aren’t made until an order gets placed for one.

The customer triggers the pull system when they order. Then, materials run through the coffee-making process.

No coffee gets made without pending orders. This is because you can’t predict what future customers want.

Another example would be ticketing at a movie theater or amusement park. There isn’t a bulk stock of tickets waiting to be sold. Instead, the tickets get printed as customers buy them.

Customized computers and made-to-order vehicles are other products that rely on pull manufacturing. Even clinics that schedule appointments for clients use a form of pull manufacturing.

Push vs. Pull Manufacturing

Now you understand the major differences between push vs. pull manufacturing. Push manufacturing is for you if you’re making a single product and know the exact demand. 

Products in need of customization or flexibility usually benefit from pull manufacturing. Don’t rule out a combination of both manufacturing processes for more complex products.

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