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Just-In-Time Manufacturing

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Businesses want to be more competitive and efficient while reducing costs, yet aiming for this goal can sometimes be challenging. Ironically, simplifying some processes can do the trick, and that is precisely what JIT (Just-in-Time) and Lean Manufacturing models do.

Toyota was one the pioneers in introducing these working models in the mid-’50s, first as the “Toyota Production System” (TPS), a personal production system that was perfected within the years into the lean Manufacturing and Just-in-Time methodology that we know nowadays. At the moment, many industries have adopted and adapted these systems and have gotten rewarding results.

But… What exactly is the difference between Just-in-Time and Lean Manufacturing? How can they improve my Company? How can a company implement them? Let’s find out.

What is Just-in-Time Manufacturing (JIT)?

JIT Manufacturing (Just in Time) is a methodology that controls variability and manages production and inventory, which consists of having the right amount of resources to produce only what is ordered, avoiding any waste.

Waste doesn’t include only overproduction or extra stock; it includes waste of time in the streamlining, transportation, space, and waiting. JIT aims to have a more straightforward and better-organized work process that makes it easier to detect problems and give real-time solutions.

Just-In-Time manufacturing can be a vital component of Lean Manufacturing, a system that aims to use efficiency and quality to add value to a customer. The reason why these two are often linked is due to JIT’s inherent design that supports and aligns with the primary goals of Lean Manufacturing, successfully contributing to waste reduction and efficiency improvements. The difference is that Lean Manufacturing can be used across all business areas, including marketing and distribution, not only in manufacturing.

As a whole, in a Just-in-Time system, companies manufacture the number of goods needed only when they are ordered, without any extra production or overstock, simplifying the workflow process in manufacturing. JIT Manufacturing optimizes productivity with minimal resources, improving efficiency with less wastage and minimizing costs.

On the other hand, Lean Manufacturing will focus on the product’s quality. For example, in the car industry, Lean Manufacturing will analyze the processes to create a safer and lifelong product.

Just-in-Time supervises every step of a production process, analyzes if it adds value and in case it doesn’t, looks and tests alternatives, and thus, a company can improve. Lean Manufacturing can include JIT method in its processes to aim for its goal.

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How does JIT work?

The Just-in-Time method aims to increase efficiency in production while minimizing inventory stock and not storing material for future use. This system reduces costs by only purchasing the supplies needed for manufacturing the product; that has complete specifications, avoiding paying storage for overstock or overproduction.

Retail companies, car and tech manufactures, among others, are great examples of industries that benefit from a Just-in-Time method. JIT makes the workload more efficient with a production plan that forecasts their requirements, making companies not waste time waiting for raw materials or moving overstock to storage, reducing the costs of workforce and inventory. Material Requirements Planning (MRP) can be of great help for JIT in these tasks. 

However, not only big manufacturers can take advantage of this system. A great example is the food industry, like supermarket chains or local restaurants. It is not a secret that fresh ingredients play a vital role in the quality of a meal, and storing some of them is not the best idea. JIT helps them have a more organized production, manage inventory better and avoid financial loss. JIT can also be applied in the service industries, such as delivery companies since it focuses on making a process more efficient than the final product without waste.

Benefits of JIT Manufacturing

There are many advantages a company can gain by implementing the Just-in-Time method. Among the main ones are:

  1. Stock Reduction: With a JIT System, you can reduce costs in various company areas. By working only with the material required for a specific job, you avoid paying for extra items that can become overstocked or may need storage space. This is advantageous in cases when an order is canceled at the last minute since a purchase shall not be made until anorder is received and approved. In the same way, by processing only what is demanded, the labor required is less.
  2. Increases Efficiency: Just-in-Time methodology simplifies workflows by only processing what is needed. An automated Just-in-Time operation can reduce bottlenecks and production delays by following a systematic schedule. This benefits delivery times and customer satisfaction.
  3. Better Manage of Time: By optimizing production processes, having a specific schedule for material delivery by suppliers, and avoiding extra steps such as unloading and transportation of resources, you avoid wasting time. Supply Chain Management software is an excellent complement to this task since this tool can help track supplier performance, streamline communication, and manage supplier relationships.
  4. Boosts Quality: JIT seeks to have the correct number of items moving with the necessary equipment on the shop floor. By having a more transparent working environment, it is possible to detect opportunities to improve chain production processes, creating products with fewer or no defects in less time.
  5. Reduces Costs: Excess inventory and overproduction are not assets when you have them in the warehouse since storing can be expensive; besides, excess of stock can become obsolete, leading to financial loss. With JIT your production is already sold when an order comes in. Companies that use the Just-in-Time method can also better predict the labor needed for production. This advantage can help Automated Employee Scheduling decrease over time and prevent employee burnout.

The role of ERP and MES with JIT

Coordinating all company areas like production, purchasing, finances, distribution, and others is pivotal.

The key parts to making JIT Manufacturing successful are:

  1. Methodical Process Management and Logistics
  2. High-quality Staff and Personnel
  3. Frequent Maintenance Schedules
  4. Strict Inventory Control
  5. Reliable Suppliers
  6. Great in-real-time information and communication inside all areas of a company

Implementing a JIT method sounds easy; nevertheless, it needs a tremendous logistic team and excellent coordination and communication between everyone involved in the Company, supply chain, and clients to make this method successful. This is when investing in an ERP and MES software is profitable. Skyplanner’s APS will help make this complex job a more manageable challenge.

Introduce Just-In-Time method to your company

An Advanced Planning and Scheduling Software like the Skyplanner’s APS will optimize the workload, improve communication, and update real-time information. This will prevent bottlenecks by having more control over all areas and the task of decision-making more straightforward to manage, and assist with last-minute changes or delayed stock by adjusting the production with a clear and efficient plan according to the agreed times.

Introduce the Just-in-Time method to your company. These method will help deliver orders on time, improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs and make a company more competitive. Our professional team is ready to assist you launch!

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