Pacemaker, Bottleneck and Order Decoupling Point in Lean Production Systems


  • Ibon Serrano
  • Rodolfo de Castro
  • Ainhoa Goienetxea



Pacemaker process, Bottleneck process, Order Decoupling Point, Lean Production, Production System Design, Planning and Control


The aims of this article are three: first, to clarify the theoretical concepts related to the definition of three points – Pacemaker, Bottleneck and Order Decoupling Point – used in the field of production systems design, planning and control; second, to demonstrate existing interrelations between the three points; and third, to set out guidelines to make the identification and definition of these points easier, whenever an attempt is made to design or redesign a system using a lean production approach. To that end, the article has been organized into the following sections. In the first place, a description is given of the literature review process that led to acceptable theoretical descriptions for each of the three points. Then, under a conceptual point of view and depending on production strategy – Make To Order (MTO) or Make To Stock (MTS) – a set of considerations has been made in different practical situations, establishing the relationships between each concept. Some procedural guidelines to help identify the three points will accompany these considerations. Finally, and before providing the conclusions, a practical case of production system redesign is presented in which aspects and methods described in this article were used. It is hoped that this paper might fulfil a literature gap relating concepts from different points of view, and offer practical guidelines to academics or practitioners who have to design or redesign a production system.




How to Cite

Serrano, I., de Castro, R., & Goienetxea, A. (2009). Pacemaker, Bottleneck and Order Decoupling Point in Lean Production Systems. International Journal of Industrial Engineering: Theory, Applications, and Practice, 16(4).



Production Planning and Control