Mixed Model Material Flow Workshop

Hosted at Toyota Material Handling

Notice: This workshop has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic until it can be hosted safely. Coming Soon: The  Material Flow Certification program that you can complete online. Same content, less travel!

What You Will Learn at This Workshop

Material Flow is the largest pain point in most factories. To make matters worse, materials also consume the vast majority of product cost — sometimes upwards of 80%. And yet, Material Flow is regularly the single most overlooked aspect on the factory floor. We cannot stress this enough:

No matter how much time, money, and effort you put into implementing Lean practices, if your Material Flow is broken, your production line will NOT perform to expectations.

By the conclusion of this workshop, you will understand how to design a material delivery system that supports the management of a large number of different products, options, and items, with high efficiency and quality. We would go so far as to claim that your material delivery system, following our methodology, will essentially shortage-proof your production lines.

The tools of Mixed Model Material Flow can handle inevitable changes in mix and volume, without delaying or stopping the line. And they can do so efficiently, without overstaffing or wasteful material delivery activity.


"Excellent! This is an excellent class that needs cross-functioned group participation (Ops, ME, Material Flow, Supply Management, Supervisors). Excellent instructor!"
John Deere
"Richard and Gerard are both great teachers. It is clear how well they understand the material and Lean Manufacturing in general. The tours were also a big plus as we could see concrete examples of the discussed material handling strategies."
Loop Supply Systems
"I really found the workshop relevant to the work I do for my company. The sharing of ideas between companies through exercises was invaluable to my efforts."
"Very good information on Kanban and PFEP!! Anyone that works in materials, even if it isn't management, could benefit from this course."

Why Toyota Material Handling?

This workshop includes factory tours of Toyota Material Handling, the #1 manufacturer of fork trucks in North America and winner of Assembly Magazine’s Plant of the Year Award. Here’s what Assembly Magazine had to say about Toyota Material Handling.

Toyota has long been regarded as the gold standard for Lean manufacturing. You will see many methods that we teach in-action on the factory floor.

Benefits of Material Flow

Reduce shortages dramatically

Free up working capital by optimizing inventory

Integrate outside suppliers

Manage materials tightly in spite of high-mix challenges

Reduce factory floor space

Standardize your material delivery processes

Who Should Participate?

This workshop has been designed for anyone responsible for designing, implementing, or managing the material delivery system or supply chain for a Mixed Model production line based on Lean principles.

  • Material Managers
  • Material Delivery Specialists
  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Supply-Chain Professionals

Workshop Schedule

Day 1

For most manufacturing companies, the opportunities for material management improvements are large. The workshop starts with an overview of this important topic.

In this lesson you will develop a deep understanding of the optimum material delivery workflow and strategy.

You probably have most of the material-related information that you will need, but can you see everything about a part in one place? Probably not. PFEP is a data analysis tool that you will want to create up-front, which will yield surprising benefits.

Your job as the designer of a material delivery system is to know which tool to use. Kanban is the Japanese work for “card” or more generally “signal”, and this technique is at the heart of a Material Flow Pull System.

Kanban means “signal”, and this signal can take various forms. As a material flow designer, you will need to know which signaling method to choose for an individual item. This information will be stored in your PFEP database.

One of the goals of Lean Material Flow is to balance material coverage (no shortages) with high inventory turns. In this lesson you will calculate optimum inventory levels for a variety of different items, using data and simple formulas. This information is stored in your PFEP database.

Day 2

Start the day with a formal presentation about the Toyota Production System, and a tour of one of North America’s best factories. The focus will be on the design and functioning of the material delivery system, with over 50 base models and thousands of possible options.

Material presentation is a integral part of optimum workstation design. In this lesson you will review basic objectives and examples, as well as look at some provocative new ways to deliver and present materials to an operator.

The Material Flow designer will choose from a variety of Material Conveyance methods, from hand delivery to Automated Guidance Vehicles (AGVs).

The philosophy of “frequent trips and light loads” will be accomplished through the design of your delivery routes. The establishment of Standard Work for material delivery is also applied in this step.

A formal containerization policy and strategy often does not get the attention and focus that it deserves. Every item in your PFEP database is associated with an optimal containerization plan.

Day 3

Return to the factory flow to view some of the unique aspects of this high-performing material delivery system: supermarkets, management of overseas shipments, and the functioning of the Kanban card system.

Material Flow designers use a “roadmap” or checklist, for consistency and completeness. In this lesson you will learn the 10 Key Design Principles.

In the 21st Century many manufacturers are “high mix low volume”, with many different but similar products that must be produced on the same line. The challenges to optimal material delivery in this environment are many, and solutions are covered in this important lesson.

The material delivery system needs continuous vigilance and management. In this important lesson we will review the methods and practices needed to ensure that your system is on a path of continual improvement.

In this final lesson we will return to the Lean Material Management roadmap, and offer some final suggestions for productive next steps.

Related Workshops

Mixed Model Line Design Workshop

Mixed Model Line Design

Take the leap beyond 5S, Value Stream Mapping and SMED to where the real process improvements take place: Lean Process Design.

Advanced Mixed Model Manufacturing

Advanced Mixed Model Manufacturing

A deep dive into complex subjects including Simulation, Sequencing, In-Process Kanban, and Design Validation.