In today's global market, price, quality, and manufacturing speed are not sufficient to stay ahead of competition once the product reaches the maturity stage of its life cycle. World class manufacturers understand that to sustain their competitiveness in the market, in addition to price, quality, and manufacturing speed, they must develop competencies to innovate, design, and introduce new products to the market quickly. Creating new product ideas that are consistent with organizational strategy, and moving these ideas through the stages of design, development, and introduction quickly has been the hallmark of successful world class organizations (Bebb, 1989; Chase, Aquilano, and Jacobs, 2001; Towner, 1994). Introducing new products to the market ahead of competition has several strategic and operational advantages. It often means charging premium price, building name recognition, controlling a large market share, and enjoying the bottom line profit. Better competitive position in the market makes it also difficult for competition to enter the market (Blackburn, 1991; Bayus, 1997; Cooper and Kleinschmidt, 1994; Crawford, 1992; Franza and Lucas, 2000; Zahra and Ellor, 1993).
Who are the market leaders in introducing new products to the market fast? During the last two decades, through their JIT systems, world class manufacturers have dominated their competitors not only in the areas of price, quality, and manufacturing speed but also in new product development speed and quick commercialization of new technologies (Bebb, 1989; Dumaine, 1989a & b; Blackburn, 1991; Clark and Fujimoto, 1991; Ulrich and Eppinger, 2000). To understand the relationships between JIT manufacturing and simultaneous NPD process, let's briefly review the principles of JIT systems. Just-in-Time (JIT) production has been a great force in the world of manufacturing since the early 1980's. Some of the main benefits of JIT in the area of manufacturing such as inventory reduction, lead-time reduction, quality improvement, and cost savings have been well documented (Billesbach, 1991; Cook and Rogowski, 1996; Hobbs, 1994; Inman and Mehra, 1990; Payne, 1993; Temponi and Pandya, 1995; White, 1993; Deshpande and Golhar, 1995; Handfleld, 1993; Lawrence and Hottenstein, 1995; Golhar, Stamm, and Smith, 1990; Moras and Dieck, 1992; Sohal and Howard, 1987; Schoenberger, 1986). In the simplest form, JIT requires production of the right parts in the right quantities and at the right times. The core component of a JIT system is based on two fundamental principles: elimination of waste and respect for people (Chase, Aquilano, and Jacobs, 2001; Hobbs, 1994; Payne, 1993; Wantuck, 1983). Waste as defined by Toyota's Fujio Cho, is "anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, parts, and workers, which are absolutely essential to production" (Suzaki, 1987). In a JIT system, elimination of waste is achieved by adopting the following elements: total quality management, continuous quality improvement, focused factory, reducing setup times, flexible resources, group technology layout, and pull production system (Gargeya, and Thompson, 1994; Sohal, Ramsay, and Samson, 1993; Suzaki, 1987)). Respect for people includes elements such as worker participation in manufacturing planning and decision making, team work, fair compensation, worker training, and new attitude toward suppliers (Sohal, Ramsay, and Samson, 1993; Wantuck, 1983). Unfortunately, since its beginning in Japan in the early 1980's, a narrow view of JIT, mainly inventory reduction and frequent deliveries, has been accepted and used in U.S. and European manufacturing organizations. Application of JIT to reduce inventory is only a small fraction of the full potential benefits of a JIT system (Blackburn, 1991; Gilbert, 1994; Towner, 1994). To take advantage of the full benefits of JIT, one needs to have a much broader view of JIT principles (Blackburn, 1991). In other words, the principles of waste...
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