Utilize PFEP to “Come Back Better”

What is PFEP? A Plan for Every Part in detail.

The Lean Enterprise Institute defines PFEP in the Lean Lexicon as follows:

A detailed plan for each part used in a production process, showing everything relevant to managing the process with no errors or waste. This is a critical tool in the Toyota Production System.

A plan will include the part number, its dimensions, the amount used daily, the precise location of use, the precise location of storage, order frequency, the supplier, pack-out quantity, transit time from the supplier, container size and weight, and any other relevant information. The point is to precisely specify every aspect of the handling and use of every part.

There is a great deal of detail in a PFEP, but that is the point. Most systems in use today do not house this level of detail and if they do, it will take multiple reports to dig it all out, so it is not done. The PFEP has all the detail in one document or database that is maintained by an owner making it much easier to get at the data.


So how will having all this data in one place make my company “Come Back Better”?

Reduce the space needed for each item

I was working with a client on combining operations from two facilities into one. They had a great plan for locating workstations and laying out the lines until they were asked: 

“Where will each material be placed at the line?” 

“How much space should we allow for the parts at the line?”

“How will materials be delivered to the line?” 

“How much floor space are we going to need for materials to support the line?”

            “How many racks?”

            “What type of racks?”

“How much space will be needed a year from now, 2 years, 5 years?”

Unfortunately, they did not have good answers to the questions being asked. The answers given were based on what was already being done, not on what material was truly needed.

A PFEP plan has all the detailed information that can generate answers to the questions above. Let us look at some of the usage data in the PFEP.

  • The PFEP will tell us the required parts for each workstation along with the quantity used per hour
    • The amount used overtime should be tailored to your operations. Depending on speed, one hour may not be enough or too much.
  • The container size and amount per container are included in the PFEP which will allow us to size the space needed at the line
    • It may be decided that a quantity smaller than container size will be delivered
    • The PFEP drives the conversation about how often to deliver and in what quantity
  • Where to place the materials at the line will impact our 5S plan for the area. The PFEP will help us have just the right amount of parts at the line at the right time.

Improve purchasing of parts

Having this type of data available will help purchasing understand which parts are eating up valuable space and need to be controlled better. A semi-annual review of total square footage used for each raw material vs. turns will identify the parts that need to be reviewed in detail. 

Less than container quantity parts that need to store at the line or be delivered to the line should be reviewed to see if the vendor can assist with an improved container size.

Improve families of parts

The PFEP has all the dimensional data for every part. Scan the data by workstation and part dimensions to discover which parts are extremely close in dimension or even the same size that can be reviewed from an engineering standpoint. There may be some parts that can be combined that can reduce the number of parts and the associated space. 

SKU Rationalization

Review demand by model and then examine the number of parts and space required for parts of low volume products. The PFEP will help you quickly zero in on the products which are wasteful in your organization. You probably already have a good idea of which models/parts those are, but using the PFEP, you have data to show the cost of low turns, the amount of square footage needed and the cost of maintaining parts that reduce profit.

Slow the proliferation of parts

Having an owner of the PFEP will help slow the proliferation of new part numbers. The owner of the PFEP can act as a gatekeeper, asking if any existing parts could be modified that could work for all models instead of adding another part. Product engineers will take the time to think about how to make the design work without adding parts knowing that a review of any new parts will be conducted.

Come Back Better

If you do not already have a PFEP plan and you are slow during this time, take the time to put a PFEP plan together. 

  • Assign an owner for the PFEP
    • Give them the power to question large impact changes to the PFEP
    • Create standard work for maintaining the PFEP
    • Add a review of new parts before inclusion in the PFEP
  • Use shop floor staff to assist at each workstation.
    • Use it as a time to improve their 5S plan for materials.
  • Have the engineers review PFEP and BOM’s for parts to combine/improve.
    • Recognize engineering for reducing the number of parts while increasing value for customers
  • Conduct a SKU rationalization on low volume models

Having this plan will put you one step ahead of your competition. You can come back stronger than when this downturn started. Your team will think differently about the flow of materials and how they can affect that flow. 

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.