What is Just in Time Manufacturing?

clock-650753_960_720Have you heard of “just in time” manufacturing? Also referred to as “JIT,” this methodology seeks to reduce flow times within manufacturing while also minimizing response times between suppliers and customers.

JIT manufacturing has origins dating back to the 1950s, during which the British Motor Corporation used the methodology at its plant in Sydney, Australia. Just a few decades later, manufacturing companies in Japan began using a JIT system, including the well-known automaker Toyota.

The Basics of Just in Time Manufacturing

The fundamental goal of JIT manufacturing is to reduce flow time within a manufacturing company, with secondary goals being reduces response times between suppliers and customers. Companies that embrace JIT manufacturing create products to meet the demand by their customer base. This is in stark contrast to many other conventional manufacturing processes, which encourage rapid, overproduction of products. Unfortunately, the overproduction of products results in a surplus, which may or may not be sold. And when products aren’t sold,

Benefits of Just in Time Manufacturing?

There are several key benefits associated with JIT manufacturing. According to a study conducted by Daman Products in 1999, 97% of companies that embraced a JIT manufacturing system experienced reduced setup times; 50% experienced reduced setup times; and 90% experienced reduced flow distance.

A separate study conducted by NCR in 1998 found that switching over to a JIT manufacturing system helped to eliminate buffer inventories; reduced inventory from 47 to 5 days; reduced flow time from 15 days to 2 days; and helped reduce suppliers from 480 to 165. While no two manufacturing companies will experience the same results after implementing a JIT system, these findings suggest that it’s a positive and beneficial system.

There’s also the added benefit of reduced waste. When manufacturing companies produce more products that what’s needed, they end up with a surplus. And it’s very rare for all of this surplus to be sold, resulting in more waste and associated expenses. JIT eliminates this unnecessary waste by encouraging manufacturing companies to produce only the amount of goods that’s needed according to their customers’ demands.

Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of JIT manufacturing and why it’s used by so many companies, both here in the United States and throughout the world.