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Bills of material must be accurate and current to facili­tate effective sales and operations planning. When plan­ning for POU or outsourcing, ensure timely ECO analysis, including review by suppliers for quality and delivery tradeoffs. Changes to the factory floor need to be timely, including determination and implementation of a kanban process. If andon light signals are used to make shortages visible, the location of these and escala­tion procedures need to be finalized.


Suppliers must be qualified and past history per­formance should be carefully reviewed. Good supplier communications are essential—consider setting up sup­plier networks (suppliers cooperate globally as a team versus competing for piece part wins). Maintain up-to-date part information, including unit prices and revision levels for purchase orders, and provide sup­pliers with part and assembly forecasts for 3-, 6-, and 12-month rolling windows.


Marketing and Sales

They drive sales and operation planning to minimize numerous unique low volume configurations while still being flexible to customer needs and wants.

Master Scheduler

The master scheduler prepares the planning bill of ma­terial and identifies high-usage parts to ensure demand flows smoothly into supplier part forecasts and subse­quent POU and outsourcing deliveries.

Qualified Suppliers


Suppliers must be customer-driven and give high prior­ity to quality, delivery, reliability, flexibility, and agility. Suppliers should maintain high quality levels (approach­ing six sigrna—very low parts per million) and excellent on-time delivery (99 percent or higher). They should of­fer value engineering skills, be proactive problem solv­ers, and consider long-term as well as short-term relationships. They can and will work with existing ap­proved vendor listing (AVL) suppliers. They maintain excellent communications and are "open kimono": they don't hide or shield problems.



Buyer/planners play a tactical role. They release purchase order authorizations for POU and outsourcing. They monitor trends in part usage and coordinate how sup­pliers increase/decrease inventory levels based on rolling forecast information from the master scheduler. They discuss delivery status with suppliers and are the early warning to the factory when shortages loom on the hori­zon. They are the first and last communication point for redline drawing resolution. They communicate new part revision levels after ECO approval and participate in ECO reviews to address impacts to suppliers. They monitor supplier compliance with negotiated minimum inventory levels, find gaps (lower than needed), and proactively work countermeasures to restore inventory levels.

Supplier (Quality) Engineer

Supplier engineers can play both a tactical and strategic role and are key contributors to POU and outsourcing. Supplier engineers work with manufacturing during request for proposal (RFP) preparation to verify accu­racy of drawings, schematics, specifications, commer­cial part information, and testing requirements. They qualify suppliers and monitor supplier capacity. They constantly monitor key suppliers for delivery and qual­ity performance. They visit and train suppliers, and help the supplier to achieve first article build, test, and ap­proval. They work with manufacturing to plan for seam­less introduction of POU parts and outsourced assemblies to the factory floor. They help expedite redline drawing closure and resolution with design en­gineering. They work supplier corrective actions for de­fective material return and are also an early warning system for supplier process failures.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 13


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