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What is Just-in-Time? Definition

Just-in-time was pioneered by Taiichi Ohno in Japan at the Toyota car assembly plants in the early 1970s. It is a manufacturing organization philosophy.  JIT decreases waste by supplying parts only when the assembly process requires them. At the heart of JIT lies the kanban, the Japanese word for card. This kanban card is sent to the warehouse to request a standard quantity of parts as and when they have been used up in the assembly/manufacturing process. JIT requires precision, as the right parts must arrive "just-in-time" at the right position (work station at the assembly line). It is used primarily for high-volume repetitive flow manufacturing processes.

History of Just-in-Time

Historically, the JIT philosophy arose out of two other things:

  1. Japan's wish to improve its production quality. At that time, Japanese companies had a bad reputation as far as quality of manufacturing and car manufacturing in particular was concerned.
  2. Kaizen, also a Japanese method of continuous improvement.

The Just-in-time framework regards inventories as a poor excuse for bad planning, inflexibility, wrong machinery, quality problems, etc. The target of JIT is to speed up customer response while minimizing inventories at the same time. Inventories help to respond quickly to changing customer demands, but inevitably cost money and increase the needed working capital.

In 1990 James Womack wrote a book called "The Machine That Changed The World", introducing the terminology 'Lean Manufacturing'. Also you may encounter the word: 'Lean Production'. The principles behind these approaches do not substantially differ from the techniques developed by Ohno at Toyota.

Attention Areas of Just-in-Time

Typical attention areas of JIT implementations include:

  • Inventory reduction.
  • Smaller production lots and batch sizes.
  • Quality control.
  • Complexity reduction and transparency.
  • Flat organization structure and delegation.
  • Waste minimization.

External extended Just-in-Time

Through the arrival of Internet and Supply Chain Planning software, companies have in the mean time extended Just-in-time manufacturing to outside the company borders. By demanding from their suppliers to deliver inventory to the factory only when it's needed for assembly, making JIT manufacturing, ordering and delivery processes even speedier, more flexible and more efficient. In this way, Integrated Supply Networks (Demand Networks) or Electronic Supply Chains are being formed.

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Just-in-time Special Interest Group.

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Forum discussions about Just-in-time. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

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Single Minute Exchange of Dies
Dear reader, I am currently working on a Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) project in a beer production facility. To implement SMED, I need to determine the baseline on which processes are done n...
Combining JIT and Outsourcing
JIT and outsourcing go hand in hand. On one side it seems contradictory. JIT stands for producing and delivering to the customer what he wants when he wants. This is an extreme challenging condition....
How to Reduce the Vendor Risks with Just-in-Time ?
When we execute JIT, we normally require our vendor to prepare some stock to deliver fast. If there are design change requests, or other products updates, how to reduce vendor stock risk?...
Can Just-in-Time Work Without Kanban?
Just-in-Time is a basic philosophy or a paradigm. If you read about it, you still have no idea HOW to do it. Kanban however gives a practical way to achieve Just-in-Time. As Taiichi Ohno says:”Kanban...
Importance of Inventory Velocity
Why is inventory velocity so important in supply chain management?...
Experiences with Including Purchased Parts in Kanban
Taiichi Ohno was plant manager of a Toyota factory when he started experimenting with JIT, Kanban and other Lean tools. This is one of his stories: ‘ … we used Kanban in select areas only and the pur...
Sustainable Business Approach after Years of JIT
I had a very interesting conversation with someone who has become recently Chief Sustainability Officer of a top 10 pharma company (after years as global head of engineering there). He is using a Sus...
Just-in-time Needs Flexibility
Of course, Just-in-time needs a flexible manufacturing system. But actually, this flexibility has several aspects. For a proper functioning JIT-system, flexibility is required towards: * Changes in ...
Classification of Lean Tools
Can you briefly explain how to classify lean tools? I mean: different people seem to classify Lean tools in different ways, for example according to the 8 wastes. Who can give me another way to class...
Kanban and Procurement Planning
Does the Kanban or the pull system contradict with the procurement planning early in the project life cycle?...
The Impact of JIT on the Organization of Production Planning
JIT will have a strong impact on your organization of production planning. With JIT, a factory should operate in a company similar as the autonomic nervous system in the human body. For example the h...
🔥 NEW List of Barriers to Just-in-Time | Barriers to JIT
Though JIT as a theoretical concept seems superb, there are practical barriers in getting this concept to work in reality and get JIT implemented properly. Let's create a complete a list of all those ...
JIT in Variable Marketplaces
In trying to implement a JIT system within my organisation. We are finding difficulties due to the random flows we are seeing. This random flow of products is making it hard to establish optimal stock...
Customer Support in Just in Time is Needed
I think for implementing Just-In-Time, the customer must support it with firm and better forecasting, co-operative and committed for inwarding supplies as per the issued schedules. Else we will get sa...
Information Velocity
Why is information velocity important in supply chain management?...
Poka Yoke - Explanation
Poka Yoke is a method that shapes the production process the way it gets almost impossible to make mistakes. Employees have to make improvements in the process and needs to come up with proposals on h...
Disadvantages of JIT
A lean system has no resilience. Integrating JIT as far as possible back up the supply line creates rigid connections between manufacturing units, leaving the entire system vulnerable to exogenous fa...
JIT is Playground for Big Companies
I think that JIT or zero inventory or any system aiming similar targets needs power to execute. There are three cushions against delivery time variability. 1. Stock 2. Extra capacity 3. Unhappy cus...
Intent of Just in Time
In my view, ultimately the intent of just in time is to minimise cost. Which must be understood very well and planning should be done accordingly. For example if a process takes changeover time of 4 h...

Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about Just-in-time. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 Definition of Just-in-time
JIT can be considered as: 1. A way of life 2. A philosophy of continuous improvement 3. A way to achieve manufacturing excellence by continually eliminating waste....

🥈 Assumptions of Just-in-time (JIT)
Assumptions for effective JIT: 1. It depends on the type of product a company is manufacturing. JIT works best in food (perishable) business, fashion but can also be applied in cars manufacturing lik...

🥉 The Principles of Lean
Lean works on certain principles: 1. Identify customer specific value (customer requirements); 2. Value stream mapping for the process (identify process); 3. Create flow (reduce cycle time); 4. El...

Lean Manufacturing Tools for Beginners
Could somebody tell me what are the most important lean tools and techniques that should be used in a company that are about to implement lean manufacturing for the first time? Why? Thank you for your...

Just-in-time: Problematic or Possible?
Just-in-time (JIT) has always been a troublesome part of the management of any supply chain. However, it is feasible if the parties have a better understanding of their respective roles and the value ...

Lean and JIT Manufacturing
Is there any difference between Lean and JIT Production?...

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Just-in-time. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Main Advantages of JIT?

Benefits of Just-in-time
Among the main causes for the success of Just-in-time are its capabilities to deal with certain major economic trends: ...

Lean Tools to Attack Waste

Waste Management, Waste Tools Overview
What lean tools you can use for every waste you can find at your company? Before you try to implement these lean tools ...

7 Things to Avoid in Just-in-Time

Just-in-Time Pitfalls
The seven zeros or seven areas of wastes in JIT / Lean Thinking are: - Zero Defects: To avoid delays due to defects -...

Use of Andon as Part of Just-in-time

Signaling Abnormalities
Just-in-time is a pull-system. That means that when the customer places his order, the machine starts rolling. Of cours...

The 8 Wastes of Lean Explained

Waste Management
T - Transport - Moving people, products & information I - Inventory - Storing parts, pieces, documentation ahead of req...

Standard Work in Just-in-Time

A just-in-time organization has to be capable to function 100% reliable when ‘pulled’ by the customer. To achieve this ...

Operation Management Issues and Focus Areas

Operations Management, JIT, Kaizen
According to Heizer and Render, there are 10 decision areas of Operation Management (each having typical issues): 1. Go...

How to Focus your Improvement Efforts?

Achieve More With Less, Kaizen, BPR, JIT, Lean, Value Chain
Very often organizations consider continuous improvement as committing on improvement efforts, and thus creating project...

Synonyms of Just-in-time (JIT)

Other Terms that are used to Indicate JIT
Instead of JIT, you may also find the following similar terms: - Continuous Flow Manufacturing (IBM) - Stockless Produ...


JIT with supplier
The term JIT II has been applied as co-location and is a further step toward reducing unnecessary logistics times and co...

Obtaining a High Supplier Quality

Best Practice to Consider
W. Edward Deming, a well-known management consultant, strongly recommended Sole (Single) Sourcing as the only management...
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Just-in-time. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Summary of Lean Manufacturing and Maintenance. History, Tools, PROs and CONs

Operational Excellence, Maximizing Efficiency
Detailed presentation about Lean Production, including the interesting origins of Lean Production in Toyota Motor Compan...

The Role of Value Chain Functions, Quality Management and Innovation in Competitive Advantage

Value Chain Management, Quality Management, Innovation, Operational Excellence
This presentation firstly presents the role of functional strategies and the value chain in the achievement of competiti...

Financial Consequences from Implementing Lean Manufacturing

In the last 30 years, many U.S. firms have adopted lean manufacturing strategies. Despite evidence of substantial variat...

Lean Production for a Green Environment

Lean Production, Lean Manufcaturing
Presentation about lean manufacturing and its relation with sustainable business. The presentation includes the followin...

Lean Assessment Tool

Lean / Six Sigma Assessment
Spreadsheet calculates current and future Lean and Six Sigma scores based on scoring in 28 criteria. Generates Lean Over...

Managing your Inventory: Quick Introduction to Just in Time, Stock Review and ABC Analysis

Basic Understanding of 3Inventory Management Techniques
This video gives a brief introduction to three popular Inventory Management Techniques: 1. JIT (Just in Time): Involve...

Research Links

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