Pacemaker process

Guideline #4: send the customer schedule to only one production process

By using supermarket pull systems, you will typically need to schedule only one point in you door-to-door value stream.  This point is called the pacemaker process, because how you control production at this process sets the pace for all the upstream processes.

For example, fluctuations  in production volume at the pacemaker process affect capacityrequirements in upstream processes.  Your selection of this scheduling point also determines what elements of your value steam become part of the lead time from customer order to finished goods.

Note: material transfer from the pacemaker process downstream to finished goods need to occur as a flow (no supermarkets or pulls downstream of the pacemaker process).  Because of this, the pacemaker process is frequently the most downstream continuous-flow process in the door-to-door value stream.  On the future-state map the pacemaker is the production process that is controlled by the outside customer’s orders.