I was reminded of a quote I had saved from an APICS article that I saw in 2003. I thought the quote was funny, somewhat unintentionally so. The article was titled “Push and Pull: Getting MRP and lean to work together”.
“MRP advocates continually complain that IF:
- Employees posted all inventory transactions correctly,
- Reported all labor, and
- Maintained each work center capacity;
- If manufacturing followed schedules exactly,
- If the company created accurate forecasts for the next six months…
The system would work perfectly.”
Ah, MRP advocates. So the problem is with the users of your system? Those pesky users who just won’t use your glorious, all knowing system properly.
The problem isn’t the fact that all of those above assumptions are unrealistic? The problem isn’t that maintaining the system creates all sorts of non value added work that distracts employees from taking care of real customers?
Now I’ll agree that MRP has a role and a place even in a lean company. But, that role should be limited to forecasting and sharing information with long lead time suppliers. If you’re lean, you shouldn’t have to rely on MRP to do detailed capacity planning and scheduling, so the need for all of those above assumptions to be true goes away. What are your experiences trying to debunk the MRP myth or in moving away from MRP to lean?
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