Development of a Pull Production Control Method in the Metallurgical Industry

Read this article. It covers how understanding a supply chain can improve internal production processes. Pay particular attention to the section that outlines push versus pull. Can you compare and contrast each system?


This chapter was divided into theoretical, managerial, and empirical conclusions explaining also the limitations of the research performed as well as describing the potential research work derived:

Theoretical conclusions: the research paper pursued the following objectives, the improvement of the OTD (delivery schedules), the reduction of the stock in WIP and the reduction of the production lead times. In order to achieve these goals, a pull production control with a so-called "bottleneck control" was developed for an ETO manufacturer providing steps as guidelines to follow in order to apply it successfully in real manufacturers.

  • A new concept using a TOC approach was developed.
  • Steps for the implementation of the new concept developed were described.

Managerial conclusions:

  • The current challenges of ETO manufacturers were described and those influencing the production system were integrated in the push control model.
  • Internal efficiency was proved as key for metallurgical companies, in particular, for the steel industry.
  • The importance of a controlled and synchronized communication between sales and production to assign realistic delivery dates that lead to higher customer satisfaction.

Empirical conclusions: to prove the utility of the new concept a simulation for a metallurgical example was created by including the necessary instruments and control systems developed as well as the validation by means of simulation. The model considered and simulated the variety of complex process such a batch production in the steelworks and unique production items in the other production steps as well as the interrelationships between them. That is why the planning and control system was robust, simple, and transparent to every employee and for the end-customer.

  • Both concepts, pull and push-control, were implemented in AnyLogic software with agent-based modeling and simulated to compare the performance in different demand scenarios.
  • The benefits of the change from a common push control approach to an approach using DBR are:
    • Global optimization of the production system;
    • Initiation of production with complete customer specifications;
    • Shorter lead times;
    • Higher delivery reliability;
    • Lower inventories levels.
Limitations of the research work:
  • Assumed that existing ETO producers used a production control based on a push approach.
  • Complexity of an ETO manufacturer was partially built in the simulation model.
  • Complexity of processes such as for steelmaking was not built in detail.
  • Organization structure and interfaces were not considered in the simulation model.
  • Quality problems were not considered.
  • Concept was not proved in any company.
Future research: the potential research derived from this paper is:

  • Transfer this research method to real production systems applying it in particular cases as an assistance tool for sales and production planning leaders and controllers by centralizing all data related to a topic in a short period of time enabling simulation of what-if-scenarios.
  • Consider organization units and their communication within the simulation model.
  • Improve the model from implementation feedbacks as well as apply it for production networks with several production plants.
To sum-up, the research work show the potential benefits of a capacity management based on a bottleneck control approach in which committed delivery dates can be met as well as improving internal production key performance indicators leading to an increase in competitiveness.