Abstract Over the past thirty years three main approaches for controlling the flow of materials, both into and through manufacturing organisations have been developed. Numerous papers exist which compare Material Requirements planning (MRP), Just-In-Time (JIT) and Optimised Production Technology (OPT), in an attempt to establish which is best. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent to both academics and industrialists that each of the above methods can make a positive contribution to the performance of the organisation if adopted. Research suggests that MRP, JIT and OPT, are in fact quite complementary and an outline framework for their integration is presented in the first part of this paper. Using computer simulation the authors examined aspects of the OPT philosophy and some preliminary results of this work are presented. These suggest that taking account of bottleneck resources when scheduling impacts favourably on performance. In conclusion it is argued that bottleneck scheduling could be the first step in developing an integrated approach to materials control.