Just-In-Time (JIT) is a management philosophy which implements systems or processes which aims to maximise return of investment by maximising production efficiency, improving product quality, reducing manufacturing and logistical costs, and the elimination of waste. JIT, as the name implies, also means bringing the right materials at the right place at the right time. Items must arrive as and when they are needed, neither earlier nor later, but “just in time”. In its strictest sense, inventory is considered a waste in JIT. In logistics, JIT aims to eliminate waste of all forms; be it time, resources or materials.
Although the JIT concept has been applied loosely for years by various organisations, the JIT philosophy we know today can be credited to the Toyota Motor Company and its chief engineer, Taiichi Ohno, during the 1950s and 1960s. Toyota came up with “Kanban”, also known as the Toyota Production System, which tremendously increased Toyota’s global market share, and made it one of the leading automobile manufacturers today. Kanban literally means ‘scorecard’, which were originally used as a visual sign to signal the absence of a part, which then starts the transportation or production process. This ensures that supplies are delivered only when it was needed. With kanban, inventory and its carrying costs were drastically reduced.
Beasley, J.E. (n.d.) wrote that Ohno sought to eliminate waste in the company by implementing JIT in the following areas:- •
Overproduction - waste from producing more than is needed •
Time spent waiting - waste such as that associated with a worker being idle whilst waiting for another worker to pass him an item he needs (e.g. such as may occur in a sequential line production process) •
Transportation/movement - waste such as that associated with transporting/moving items around a factory •
Processing time - waste such as that associated with spending more time than is necessary processing an item on a machine •
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