Organizations face many challenges in their attempt to remain competitive in local and global markets. As a result, organizations seek to reduce costs and increase profitability. Many organizations turn to lean processes like just-in-time (JIT) as a way to improve processes. JIT assist organizations to reduce costs, eliminate waste, and improve processes. This paper will review the JIT concept, how Toyota has successfully used JIT, and if U.S. companies can use JIT as successfully as Toyota has been able to do.
Just-in-Time (JIT) is the foundation of the lean enterprise philosophy and a building block to manufacturing planning and control. JIT concepts concentrate on continuous improvement processes that through waste elimination, lowering inventories, reduced cycle times, and employee empowerment reach lean operations. According to Demers (2002), “Continuous improvement by any name can boost a company’s performance” (p. 31, para. 1). Several elements comprise JIT. JIT involves maneuvering an organization toward zero defects, eliminating non-value added activities from processes, implementing a pull system, implementing Poka-Yoke or mistake proof processes, implementing line balancing, determining takt time for operational cycle time, schedule factory in a manner to achieve line balancing, and use single minute exchange of die (SMED) techniques.
Without JIT systems organizations cannot use resources, informational flows, and decision rules to provide understanding, benefits, and guidance allowing one to continually improve using JIT concepts. Pullin (2005), comments “We’re all into tackling waste and cutting stocks these days, sharpening up delivery, improving quality, and reducing cost” (p. 27, para. 1). For example, Kaban is a pull concept, in which work stations notify other operations or suppliers with a card that they require additional parts or components. Components are not issued until a request comes from the user. Production bottlenecks often create fluctuating inventory, work-in-process (WIP), production flow irregularities, poor quality, and difficult on-time delivery time tables.
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- James Tallant (Author), 2010, Lean Enterprise: Just-in-Time, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/167340