I thought I would look, again, at “push” vs. “pull” systems. Though I have written on this topic before, it can be a little difficult to comprehend. What we are really looking at is when the customer enters the value stream.
If the customer comes onto the scene at the end of the value stream, then we are probably looking at a “push” type system. The product is manufactured and sent to market where, hopefully, there is a customer (or millions!) eagerly waiting for the store doors to open in order that they can purchase said product. We don’t identify a particular customer until the end of the process cycle.This system is typically chock full of wasted inventories along with the warehousing costs to store all of it, not to mention the capital tied up until the first sale is made.
On the other hand, if the customer enters the value stream at the beginning, then we are most likely observing a “pull” system. It is a particular customer order that triggers (begins) the manufacturing of that product, at that time, for that customer. This means relatively little inventory, with little to no warehousing and associated costs.
Let’s take, for example, your basic, “walkin’ down the street” rescue group. They go to the local animal control facility where they pick those animals they think (or hope) can be adopted out later. At some point in the future, they take the animal to a veterinarian to be examined, vaccinated, checked for intestinal parasites, tested for heartworms or FeLV/FIV. If the animal is ill or needs other medical attention, then additional visits may be required. At a later time, the intact animals are returned to the vet for spaying or neutering. The veterinarian is, of course, paid for his/her time, drugs, supplies and knowledge; all of this is an investment on the part of the rescue group. In between all of these steps and at the end, the rescue has to “warehouse” all of these pets in foster homes until a suitable adoptive family can be located, if at all, and recoup their costs by charging an adoption fee. This is a “push”system. The customer (adopting family) only becomes known at the end of this value stream.
If the rescue group utilized a “pull” system, the value stream would begin with the adopting family requesting a certain pet; i.e. a certain species, breed, gender, color, age, etc. and then, only then, the rescue group would scour the local “pounds” until a match was found. The pet would go to the vet for any routine procedures or medical care. It would then be given to its new family for an appropriate adoption fee. No warehousing. Any money spent is basically paid for by the adopting family immediately or, at least, much quicker than in the “push” scenario.
In general veterinary practice is a “pull” system, but there are places where we “push”, also. In my next blog, we will revisit the concept of “internal customers” and “pushy” veterinary processes.
Thanks for stopping by. As always, your comments and questions are welcomed.