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The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker

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Chapter 10Principle 4: Level Out the Workload (Heijunka)

In general, when you try to apply the TPS, the first thing you have to do is to even out or level the production. And that is the responsibility primarily of production control or production management people. Leveling the production schedule may require some front-loading of shipments or postponing of shipments and you may have to ask some customers to wait for a short period of time. Once the production level is more or less the same or constant for a month, you will be able to apply pull systems and balance the assembly line. But if production levels—the output—varies from day to day, there is no sense in trying to apply those other systems, because you simply cannot establish standardized ...

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