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Just in Time

In the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. economy was under great threat from the efforts of Japanese efficiency.  Many solutions having to do with tariffs and other import restrictions were implemented to give American industry time to catch up.  One of the major areas that American industry felt it had to change was to copy Japanese management techniques and strategies.  Some of the changes included the development of teams, employee empowerment, and making organizations flatter with fewer layers of management.  One of the management concepts that came from the Japanese model is known as “just-in-time” inventory or management.  It is the purpose of this paper to explore the implementation of, and the advantages and disadvantages of the Just In Time process.

Just in Time

The phrase “Just In Time” has various definitions from different authors including:“A strategy for inventory management in which raw materials and components are delivered from the vendor or supplier immediately before they are needed in the manufacturing process.”

“Just-in-time (JIT) in its simplest form refers to a method of inventory control with a focus on waste elimination.” 

“Just-In-Time (JIT) is a manufacturing philosophy, a philosophy of eliminating waste in the total manufacturing process, from purchasing through distribution.”

“Just-in-Time is… much more than an inventory reduction program.  JIT organizes the production process so that part and subassemblies,… are available on the shop floor when they are needed—not too soon and not too late.”

On the face of it, it seems that JIT is merely a new way of controlling a company’s inventory.  In fact, as Griffin states implementing a JIT system “results in major physical, psychological and organizational changes in a firm’s work environment.”  For instance, the traditional view of “waste” in the manufacturing process is that it is scrap material and it is the need to rework an item.  JIT defines waste “as any activity that doesn’t add any value to the product.” Included in this definition Hernandez are inspecting, material travel time, handling, and inventories. 

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