Just-in-time (JIT) is easy to grasp conceptually, everything happens
example consider my journey to work this morning, I could have left my house,
to catch a bus to the train station,
to catch the train,
at my office,
to pick up my lecture notes,
to walk into this lecture
theatre to start the lecture. Conceptually there is no problem about this, however
achieving it in practice is likely to be difficult!
So too in a manufacturing operation component parts could conceptually arrive
to be picked up by a worker and used. So we would at a stroke eliminate any
inventory of parts, they would simply arrive
! Similarly we could produce
to be handed to a customer who wants them. So, at a
conceptual extreme, JIT has no need for inventory or stock, either of raw materials or
work in progress or finished goods.
Obviously any sensible person will appreciate that achieving the conceptual extreme
outlined above might well be difficult, or impossible, or extremely expensive, in real-life.
However that extreme does illustrate that, perhaps, we could move an existing system
towards a system with more of a JIT element than it currently contains. For example,
consider a manufacturing process - whilst we might not be able to have a JIT process in
terms of handing finished goods to customers, so we would still need some inventory of
finished goods, perhaps it might be possible to arrange raw material deliveries so that, for
example, materials needed for one day's production arrive at the start of the day and are
consumed during the day - effectively reducing/eliminating raw material inventory.
Adopting a JIT system is also sometimes referred to as adopting a
. More about JIT can be found
JIT originated in Japan. Its introduction as a recognised
is generally associated with the Toyota motor company, JIT being initially
known as the "Toyota Production System". Note the emphasis here - JIT is very much a
mindset/way of looking at a production system that is distinctly different from what
(traditionally) had been done previous to its conception.
Within Toyota Taiichi Ohno is most commonly credited as the father/originator of this
way of working. The beginnings of this production system are rooted in the historical
situation that Toyota faced. After the Second World War the president of Toyota said
"Catch up with America in three years, otherwise the automobile industry of Japan will
not survive". At that time one American worker produced approximately nine times as
much as a Japanese worker. Taiichi Ohno examined the American industry and found