In the world of business, concepts or philosophies are tried, tested and developed decades ago. One such concept is ‘Just In Time’. The philosophy has reaped benefits before and fits modern business scenario perfectly. The JIT concept talks about production strategy which strives to improve business returns. This is achieved by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs.
The JIT philosophy gained prominence in the 70s through Taiichi Ohno at the Toyota Motor Company. The main objective of JIT is getting the right quantity of goods at the right place and at the right time. The philosophy is based on removing waste from business processes to achieve an efficient system. The end result is that quality products are provided to cater the customers. JIT process comprises of three main interconnected elements. The first one is respecting people; the second is JLT manufacturing, and lastly is total quality management.
JIT plays an important role in inventory management. A high volume of inventory, disguises the problems faced by manufacturers. Handling these problems one at a time requires the proper application of JIT. To apply the concept successfully, one needs to be aware of the key components. Besides, eliminating the waste, broad view of operations is another important component. Other components are simplicity, continuous improvement, visibility and flexibility.
An important tool through which JIT operates is the pull system (Kanban) as opposed to the push system, where products are pushed into the system and stored in anticipation of the unexpected demands. The pull system, on the other hand, is controlling the flow of resources by replacing only what was consumed. The pull system is a customer centric system which if executed smoothly is capable of delivering high benefits.
A well operated JIT will yield many benefits like:
- Reduction in inventory.
- An improvement in quality
- Reduced space requirement.
- Shorter lead time.
- Lower production cost.
- Increased productivity.
- Greater flexibility.