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Order segmentation in the field of production as a result of push-and-pull orders

Innovative, lean control principles for hybrid push-pull production with shared resources.

Push an Pull


The objective of Business Process Engineering in the production sector is to optimally shape business processes and improve the achievement potential of order logistics in a highly effective way. Ideally this means that logistical target values such as adherence to delivery dates, throughput times, stock/work in process (WIP) as well as capacity utilisation lie within a strategically required framework – with due regard to operational cost factors and a variable intake of orders.


Swiss industry typically has lots of different order types – purely large-scale production of fewer products is very uncommon. This complex mix of orders affects sales contracts as well as the variety of production order types: with regard to types of sales contracts, a distinction is usually made between standard products and customer-specific products. There are also other sales contracts such as spare part contracts and repair contracts.

Production typically follows the approach of making a distinction between different types of production orders such as customer-push, warehouse-pull, clocked production and Kanban orders. These segmentation types are only partially consistent with those for sales.

The advantages of segmentation are also always confronted with disadvantages regarding the integrated planning and control of different order types. This increases the level of complexity for planners and often triggers unfavourable decisions as part of order control and prioritisation due to a lack of transparency.


It has proved helpful to use methods for the analysis and visualisation of order segmentation developed in collaboration with research and industry partners as part of the CTI research project. This firstly helps companies to identify the different order types and their coordination requirements and address problems and areas of weakness. It is often a case of finding a "common language" both between and within sectors, as it is not always the case that those involved in the process have a common understanding of for example a "spare part contract" or "standard machine".

In order to integrate the mix of different planning and control methods in a useful way, optimised methods and procedures were developed to improve the overall performance level in terms of logistics. In the process, it was apparent that the established technical problem-solving approaches from operations research such as "Advanced Planning Systems/APS", "Manufacturing Execution Systems/MES" etc. often do not present any productive solutions in an often unpredictable context.

Only an integrated problem-solving approach that can mutually optimise organisation, process segmentation and technical support has the potential to improve the achievement potential of order logistics in a highly effective way.

Project information

Implementation FHNW Institute of Business Engineering
Research partner FHNW Institute of Humans in Complex Systems
Duration 18 months
Funding Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI)
Project management Prof. Ing. Dieter Fischer


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