What does the implementation of POLCA mean in practice? The founder of QRM, Rajan Suri, has published a new book about POLCA: the production control system for high-mix-low-volume products and tailor-made products.
POLCA (‘Paired-cell Overlapping Loops of Cards with Authorization’) is a card-based visual control system that controls the order flow across the work floor. POLCA ensures that the upstream production steps take into account the available capacity of the downstream production steps. By doing so one prevents starting work on orders too early for which there is no capacity available in the next step. This means that the work in process (WIP) can be limited and shorter lead times can be realized on the work floor.
POLCA is especially suitable for companies with high-mix / low-volume products and customized products. Such companies face long lead times, late deliveries and daily expediting in order to meet the delivery dates. In such environments ERP and even advanced planning software such as ‘finite capacity scheduling’ often fail. With POLCA, impressive results can be achieved in such environments.
The most important aspect of POLCA is that it is simple. The method does not require a complex software implementation: it can be used without an ERP system, or it can seamlessly connect to an existing ERP system.
Suri’s new book on POLCA provides a step-by-step roadmap for the implementation of POLCA. Invaluable for companies wishing to implement POLCA, as well as consultants and academics advising these companies. Furthermore, the concepts are explained in practical and understandable language and illustrated with detailed examples. Lastly, the book contains several case studies written by companies about their POLCA implementation process and the results achieved in different sectors in six countries!