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Inventory and Variability — Dr. Stanley Gershwin

LGO Web Seminar Series

Dr. Stanley Gershwin, MIT Laboratory for Manufacturing Productivity

Inventory and Variability

Presentation date: December 13, 2010

Abstract: Variability is the enemy of manufacturing. Inventory is used to minimize the effects of variability, but it is undesirable and is itself minimized. In this talk, we analyze the interaction of variability, the propagation of variability, and inventory. We show some counter-intuitive effects of inventory on the propagation of variability and on how inventory can best be used. The way inventory space is distributed in a factory -- and not just the total amount of space -- can greatly affect production performance. A small amount of inventory can have almost as much benefit as a large amount. Inventory should be allocated where variability is greatest.

Biography: Stanley B. Gershwin is a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the MIT Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity since 1988. Previously he held research posts at Bell Labs, the Draper Lab, and the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, and was Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at Boston University.

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