Keep Operations Running
A manufacturer must have certain purchased items (raw materials, components, or subassemblies) in order to manufacture its product. Running out of only one item can prevent a manufacturer from completing the production of its finished goods. Inventory between successive dependent operations also serves to decouple the dependency of the operations. A machine or workcenter is often dependent upon the previous operation to provide it with parts to work on. If work ceases at a workcenter, then all subsequent centers will shut down for lack of work. If a supply of work-in-process inventory is kept between each workcenter, then each machine can maintain its operations for a limited time, hopefully until operations resume the original center.