The purpose of this article as follows: The first is to clarify the theories underlying the definition of three concepts- Pacemaker, Bottleneck and Order Decoupling Point– in the field of production systems design, planning and control; the second is to demonstrate the existing interrelations between the three concepts; and third, to set out guidelines that will make identifying and defining these concepts easier, when attempting to design or redesign a system using a lean production approach.
It is hoped that this paper will fill a gap in the literature by relating these three concepts from different points of view, as well as offer practical guidelines to academics or professionals involved in the design, or redesign, of a production system Keeping this in mind, the findings portrayed in this publication have been organized into the following sections.
First the article describes the literature review process that led to acceptable theoretical descriptions for each of the three concepts. Then, from a conceptual point of view and depending on production strategy – Made-To-Order (MTO) or Made-To-Stock (MTS) –a set of considerations, in different practical situations are made establishing the relationships between each of the concepts. At the same time this document provides some procedural guidelines to help identify the three concepts. Then a practical case of production system redesign is proposed, in which aspects and methods described in this article are used. Finally, conclusions are drawn at the end.