JIT Manufacturing: You have probably heard of just-in-time manufacturing (JIT). Perhaps you are considering implementing it on your premises or are wondering about its advantages and disadvantages. A closer look at the topic can help you determine if it is right for your company and your industry.
JIT is a type of management where goods are produced in the relevant quantities when customers so request, and they are delivered immediately with no additional inventory. If you have a JIT manufacturing system, you will manufacture products when customers ask for them, rather than a stock of goods you are likely to sell.
The idea for JIT generally attributed to a Toyota executive named Taiichi Ohno. Toyota asked anyway to improve its production. His management team visited the United States in the early 1970s. He noticed that a Piggly Wiggly supermarket manages its inventory by replenishing the customers it bought. The store restocked its shelves, but not over-ordered. As a result of his visit, Ohno developed the JIT model in the years that followed. Soon after, western manufacturers experimented with the concept.
JIT manufacturing differs from traditional manufacturing. Companies value what customers want and use this approach to ensure that products are conventional. Manufacturers often also produce these items in large quantities to make the process more efficient and keep prices down, especially when machines take a long time to start.
Average manufacturing techniques often involve:
- Long lead times.
- Many products in development at a given point in time.
- A significant amount of finished products have yet to order.
If a customer requests an item that is currently out of stock, they may have to wait weeks for the product to be manufactured unless pushed, disrupting the established production schedule.
Alternatively, JIT manufacturing only creates the goods requested by customers, reducing the number of items in production and the number of finished products. JIT can also shorten lead times and reduce the risk of making goods you can’t sell.
Another benefit is reducing the cost of deliveries as the company does not need to purchase unneeded materials, which reduces the space required for inventory. JIT manufacturing can also produce higher quality products and improve productivity. For more information on JIT and how to fix some common problems, see the attached resource.