Line-back principle

Line-back principle: thinking the value chain backwards?

An ideal material flow is crucial for achieving competitive advantages and optimally coordinating processes. Particularly in the highly competitive automotive industry, it is essential to establish efficient processes in production logistics. This is reflected, among other things, in inventory ranges of less than one day's production, which is considered the benchmark.

The line-back principle, often referred to as the line-aback principle, plays a decisive role in this. It thinks the supply chain based on the requirements that arise in production. This results in optimized process flows that focus exclusively on value-adding activities.

Definition line-back principle: That's what it's all about!

The supply of materials within the framework of internal logistics is crucial; after all, it is here that the margin is essentially determined by efficient processes. One approach to focusing exclusively on value-adding activities is the line-back principle. It is a matter of trading required materials optimally by rigorously reducing or relocating tasks that do not add value.

An example: A German automotive supplier must optimize every single aspect of the material flow in order to be able to achieve competitive conditions. To achieve this goal, the supply of materials is being placed on a completely new footing. All non-value-added activities, for example the processes leading to the load carrier or walkways, are shifted to upstream segments such as the picking areas.

The line-back principle is characterized by a step-by-step processing of individual workstations. At the beginning of this chain is the plant employee, at the end the respective supplier. A continuous analysis starting from production focuses on aspects of the value chain eliminating unnecessary or other non-value adding activities.

Visible signs: How does the line-back principle manifest itself in practice?

Production processes are always dynamic; after all, they essentially depend on the demand situation. In the context of warehouse and materials management, it therefore makes sense not just to take average or mean values, but to align the processes in such a way that each work step can be completed separately from others.

This means that logistics planning in line with the line-back principle starts directly at the workplace, looking backwards at all stages of the value chain right through to the supplier. Based on this, optimizations can be carried out that relocate all or significant non-value-added activities.

Details that characterize warehouse planning in terms of the line-back principle:

  • Short distances of the assembly or factory personnel
  • Reduction of the necessary work steps
  • Ergonomic alignment along the value chain
  • Inventory reduction
  • Higher production cycle


Logistik-Lexikon Linie Back Prinzip

Image: ESB Professional / Shutterstock

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