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10. Just-in-time manufacturing


By Anonymous - Posted on 08 February 2012

Just in time is a ‘pull’ system of production, so actual orders provide a signal for when a product should be manufactured. Demand-pull enables a firm to produce only what is required, in the correct quantity and at the correct time.

This means that stock levels of raw materials, components, work in progress and finished goods can be kept to a minimum. This requires a carefully planned scheduling and flow of resources through the production process.

APICS define JIT as “a philosophy of manufacturing based on planned elimination of all waste and on continuous improvement of productivity”. It also has been described as an approach with the objective of producing the right part in the right place at the right time (in other words, “just in time”).  Waste results from any activity that adds cost without adding value, such as the unnecessary moving of materials, the accumulation of excess inventory, or the use of faulty production methods that create products requiring subsequent rework.

JIT applies primarily to repetitive manufacturing processes in which the same products and components are produced over and over again.  The general idea is to establish flow processes (even when the facility uses a jobbing or batch process layout) by linking work centers so that there is an even, balanced flow of materials throughout the entire production process, similar to that found in an assembly line.  To accomplish this, an attempt is made to reach the goals of driving all inventory buffers toward zero and achieving the ideal lot size of one unit.

JIT - Background and History
JIT is a Japanese management philosophy which has been applied in practice since the early 1970s in many Japanese manufacturing organisations. It was first developed and perfected within the Toyota manufacturing plants by Taiichi Ohno as a means of meeting consumer demands with minimum delays . Taiichi Ohno is frequently referred to as the father of JIT.

Toyota was able to meet the increasing challenges for survival through an approach that focused on people, plants and systems. Toyota realised that JIT would only be successful if every individual within the organisation was involved and committed to it, if the plant and processes were arranged for maximum output and efficiency, and if quality and production programs were scheduled to meet demands exactly.

JIT manufacturing has the capacity, when properly adapted to the organisation, to strengthen the organisation's competitiveness in the marketplace substantially by reducing wastes and improving product quality and efficiency of production.

There are strong cultural aspects associated with the emergence of JIT in Japan. The Japanese work ethic involves the following concepts.

  • Workers are highly motivated to seek constant improvement upon that which already exists. Although high standards are currently being met, there exist even higher standards to achieve.
  • Companies focus on group effort which involves the combining of talents and sharing knowledge, problem-solving skills, ideas and the achievement of a common goal.
  • Work itself takes precedence over leisure. It is not unusual for a Japanese employee to work 14-hour days.
  • Employees tend to remain with one company throughout the course of their career span. This allows the opportunity for them to hone their skills and abilities at a constant rate while offering numerous benefits to the company.

These benefits manifest themselves in employee loyalty, low turnover costs and fulfilment of company goals.

Adding value

Value to the user is having the right parts and quantities at the right time and place. Value satisfies the actual and perceived needs of the customer and does it at a price the customer can afford and considers reasonable. Another word for this is quality. Quality is meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations. If any part of the chain does not add value for the customer, there is waste.

Adding value to a product does not mean adding cost. Many activities increase cost without adding value and, as much as possible, these activities should be eliminated.
 

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