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widgets or gadgets need to be produced each day, we uniform demand for the parts that are needed to feed our production process.  This helps us smooth things out along our supply chain.


Reduce lead times on customer orders.  Since we are now producing some of everything each day, customers don’t have to wait so long.  Most operations that have been developed for JIT are robust enough to handle swings of 10% either way in daily loads.


Drastically reduces WIP & finished goods inventory.  With a uniform load schedule, everything produced in a day is shipped that day.  At the end of the day, nothing is left partially completed.  Nothing is left completed but stockpiled in the corner, thus drastically reducing or completely eliminating WIP and finished goods inventory.


Accommodates major mix changes as long as the load is uniform.  Another way to look at this uniform process is simply this: increased flexibility.  By streamlining production operations, a firm can increase its capacity to meet changing demands.  At one point in time, 3M allowed 20% of the daily schedule to be phone-in orders not filled from stock.  As long as the load is uniform, mix changes are simple to handle.

Other Considerations

One point that needs to be discussed is that uniform load scheduling is not made to stand on its own.  The 3M example illustrates that using a uniform load schedule is only one aspect of quality improvement.  

3M mgmt realized that they could not change their product from an engineering standpoint, so they turned to the production process.  They did adopt a uniform load schedule, but to support that, they had to reengineer the production process.  They had to modify the tooling and equipment used, change locations of machines and parts, and retrain their employees.  


A uniform load schedule affects every aspect of a company, not just the operations dept.

Adopting a uniform load schedule is not child’s play, but may require significant investment on the part of the firm.  Before making the

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