The Flows in Materials Management and Lean Manufacturing

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The Flows in Materials Management and Lean Manufacturing

If we look at a materials management carefully we can distinguish at least 3 flows that support the department in his role:
1. Information Flow: this flow plays a very important role as it decides and relates the requirements of the production department. Also the information flow links to the vendors to enable on time delivery
2. Material flow: this flow mainly includes the on-time arrival of material at the production floor and the internal movement of the WIP from one workstation to another.
3. Cash flows: this flow includes the finance department and its linkage with the materials department and purchase department. It plays a major role in the interdependency of these departments to provide transparency on the costs and returns which are playing a major role in proper ordering and planning of material.

Now let's relate the 3 flows also to production. They help a lot to enable a concept like lean manufacturing where the lead time of the process is reduced:
- If there is a proper information flow, the materials would be ordered at the right time and the production will not be delayed.
- If there is a proper material flow, the vendors or suppliers can deliver directly on site and concepts like JIT can more easily be applied.
- The cash flows need to work well to be the backbone of the 2 other processes ensuring they run properly.



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