Just-In-Time (JIT) Manufacturing

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Just-In-Time (JIT) Manufacturing - short version

(1) An optimal material requirement planning system for a manufacturing process in which there is little or no manufacturing material inventory on hand at the manufacturing site and little or no incoming inspection.

(2) A Lean Manufacturing process for synchronizing materials, operators, and equipment such that all materials and people are where they need to be, when they need to be there, and in the state they need to be there in.

(3) A method for optimizing processes that involves continual reduction of waste;

Just-In-Time (JIT) Manufacturing - long version

Just in time (JIT) is a production strategy that strives to improve a business return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs. Just-in-time production method is also called the Toyota Production System. To meet JIT objectives, the process relies on signals or Kanban (看板, Kanban?) between different points in the process, which tell production when to make the next part. Kanban are usually 'tickets' but can be simple visual signals, such as the presence or absence of a part on a shelf. Implemented correctly, JIT focuses on continuous improvement and can improve a manufacturing organization's return on investment, quality, and efficiency. To achieve continuous improvement key areas of focus could be flow, employee involvement and quality.

The philosophy of JIT is simple: inventory is waste. JIT inventory systems expose hidden cost of keeping inventory, and are therefore not a simple solution for a company to adopt. The company must follow an array of new methods to manage the consequences of the change. The ideas in this way of working come from many different disciplines including statistics, industrial engineering, production management, and behavioral science. The JIT inventory philosophy defines how inventory is viewed and how it relates to management.

Inventory is seen as incurring costs, or waste, instead of adding and storing value, contrary to traditional accounting. This does not mean to say JIT is implemented without an awareness that removing inventory exposes pre-existing manufacturing issues. This way of working encourages businesses to eliminate inventory that does not compensate for manufacturing process issues, and to constantly improve those processes to require less inventory. Secondly, allowing any stock habituates management to stock keeping. Management may be tempted to keep stock to hide production problems. These problems include backups at work centers, machine reliability, process variability, lack of flexibility of employees and equipment, and inadequate capacity.

In short, the Just-in-Time inventory system focus is having "the right material, at the right time, at the right place, and in the exact amount"-Ryan Grabosky, without the safety net of inventory. The JIT system has broad implications for implementers.


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