Pull and Push are two different ways to trigger the start of a process step. In a Push system, the action is triggered only when the required input is available: Products are pushed through the manufacturing system. Once everything is available for the process step, it starts. The next step goes into action as soon as everything is available there and so on…

One could say, the basic principle is: “Whether or not the next process step is ready – I produce as much as I can! Ready or not, here I come! And if YOU’RE not ready, that’s your problem!”


  • A part/batch taken away from the inventory after your process triggers the next production
  • An empty traA work order triggers the processing of parts
  • A full tray of parts triggers the start of the assembly process
  • A sample gets in and is analyzed following the first in, first out principle
  • Sales orders are processed in the sequence of order entry no matter if falling due this week or falling due in five months

Understanding the difference between Pull and Push is critical to creating Flow.

Learn more about this topic in our Lean Six Sigma Basics Online Course (Demo currently not available for Internet Explorer).

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