Just-In-Time Working

How Just In Time Works

The idea behind Just In Time, that everything arrives at exactly the right time, is simple enough. In practice it can be complex.

Just In Time is a "pull" manufacturing process. This means that it is customer demand that determines production. Your company will need to reposition machinery to create a smooth production line, and develop a system to make sure that changes to demand are immediately fed through to the production line.

You can’t buy JIT "out-of-the-box" but you can use the methodology to keep inventory levels to a minimum, carry out demand planning, simplify the ordering process and improve production flexibility. These principles are equally relevant to the retail sector.

The principles of Just In Time

The underlying principles of Just In Time are:

  • Inventory levels should be as close to zero as possible;
  • Quality needs to be the responsibility of all employees, with zero tolerance of quality defects;
  • Lead time, waiting times, processing times and lot sizes should be reduced;
  • Production facilities and staff need to be more flexible;
  • Staff should be actively involved in improving working practices, solving problems and improving efficiency;
  • Any waste – anything that doesn’t add value to a product or service – should be discontinued.

What counts as waste?

The former DTI Manufacturing Advisory Service, in consort with some of Britain’s leading manufacturers, identified the following as waste to be eliminated:

  • Goods-in where poor quality of incoming parts and material wastes time, effort and resources;
  • Unnecessary movement of people and material;
  • Unnecessary waiting and queuing;
  • Irregular processes and activities that are not actually required;
  • Poor quality of products which results in wasted resources and rectification;
  • Overproduction (unnecessary WIP, finished goods and material stocks);
  • Unnecessary paperwork and red-tape.
Just In Time (JIT) Business Advice: Crown Copyright © 2005-2014
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