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Discrete Manufacturing: Basic Theory of Optimization


The basic theory of optimization teaches you the following:

  • How to get the lowest production lead time

  • How to optimize your inventory such that don't have over stock or under stock but satisfy your customer demand on time properly

This basic theory covers some of the topics that you learn when you take the APICS (CPIM, CSCP and CLTD) courses. We still recommend you to get APICS certified: CPIM stands for Certified in Production and Inventory Management.

We categorize the basic theory topics by manufacturing process type such as Make to Stock, Make to Order, Batch Processing, ...

Batch Processing

Batch processing is typical in the food industry. For instance you have to produce a batch of a particular peanut butter, or a particular cookie, or a particular drink, or a particular toy, or an electronic product, etc. Such a batch needs to be made eg. every two weeks for a set of customers.

To get a certain volume made in a certain time, you will need to measure your cycle time and lead time, and compare it to the cycle time and lead time that is required to get the batch volume made on time. If your cycle time and lead time is too high, then the question is how to reduce those times. You may have several solutions: add machine capacity, and/or combine operations, and/or add stock, etc.

The video below will illustrate these scenarios.

A more detailed and longer video

A more detailed and longer video

Using a Value Stream Map

Using Six Sigma


Some university professors have given a clear explanation of a Bill Of Material (BOM) and Material Requirements Planning (MRP). Below are their PPT slides.

You can also view these PPT slides here.

You can also view these PPT slides here.

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