An acronym that stands for Paired-cell Overlapping Loops of Cards with Authorization.
It is similar to a kanban system, except it works well for high-mix, low-volume and customized products and services. Since demand is moving more and more in this direction, it is important to have a system that can deal with this changing demand.
POLCA divides the workplace into flexible and multidisciplinary staffed work cells. These only make semi-finished products or services for receiving work cells only if they have free capacity. POLCA cards circulate between the work cells, and create a signal only if there is room for further processing. The POLCA cards do not have any part numbers or item numbers on it, so the work cell decides what is most important to produce at that time.
For kanban systems with many product or service varieties, it will require a more complex system to manage it, and require an intermediary backlog of inventory, which would go against the purpose of reducing inventory.
- The Practitioner’s Guide to POLCA: The Production Control System for High-Mix, Low-Volume and Custom Products