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Just in Time

JIT is one of the tool of Lean manufacturing, which was first, developed by the Japanese in the early 1970s. The Toyota manufacturer plant was the first to adopt the technique, by its leader Taiichi Ohno. Researchers have labeled JIT as a philosophy with three main objectives: 1. reducing the inventories 2. making quality better and 3. providing on time production and shipment of products.

Push and Pull

MRP is the classic push system. The MRP system computes production schedules for all levels based on forecasts of sales of end items. Once produced, subassemblies are pushed to next level whether needed or not. JIT is the classic pull system. The basic mechanism is that production at one level happens when initiated by a request at the higher level. That is, units are pulled through the system by request.

Just-In-Time (JIT)
Defined JIT can be defined as an integrated set of activities designed to achieve high-volume production using minimal inventories (raw materials, work in process, and finished goods) JIT also involves in the elimination of waste in production effort JIT also involves in the timing of production resources (i.e., parts arrive at the next workstation just in time)

JIT and Lean Management

JIT can be divided into two terms: Big JIT and Little JIT Big JIT (also called Lean Management) is a philosophy of operations management that seeks to eliminate waste in all aspects of a firms production activities: human relations, vendor relations, technology, and the management of materials and inventory. Little JIT focuses more narrowly on scheduling goods inventory and providing service resources where and when needed

JIT Pull system

It is dangerous to summarize JIT as a concept because of its breath but most applicable definition is:


These methods offer two completely different approaches to basic production planning in a manufacturing environment. Each has advantages over the other, but neither seems to be sufficient on its own. Both have advantages and disadvantages, suggesting that both methods could be useful in the same organization. Main Advantage of MRP over JIT: MRP takes forecasts for end product demand into account. In an environment in which substantial variation of sales are anticipated (and can be forecasted accurately), MRP has a substantial advantage. Main Advantage of JIT over MRP: JIT reduces inventories to a minimum. In addition to reducing inventory cost, there are substantial side benefits, such as improvement in quality and plant efficiency.

MRP - Merits & Demerits

Advantages MRP | PUSH Allows Managers to manage i.e. plan and control things Can lead to large inventories Requires maintenance of large and complex databases Allows for the planning and completion of complex assemblies as sub-components are delivered only by scheduled need Can generate large quantities of scrap before errors are discovered Disadvantages

JIT - Merits & Demerits

Advantages JIT | PULL Limited and known Final Inventory Worker only consume their time & Raw Materials on what is actually needed Every job is a High Stress Rush order Setup times will greatly impact throughput Disadvantages

Each piece has a definite place Any problem will lead to to go and immediate feedback is unhappy customers given

Kanban is Japanese word for card or signboard. It is a technique for building a control mechanism into the manufacturing system itself. There are number of kanban techniques which can be employed. The simplest form is known as Kanban Squares. The squares are painted between the work centres for each item in production. When a downstream kanban square is empty, this is the signal for the material to be processed. The great virtue of this technique is its simplicity. There are several other methods of applying pull control in addition to kanban squares (eg. Kanban cards). In pull system, control is an integral part of the manufacturing system while in push system (MRP), the control is a separate entity controlled externally.


Two Card Kanban

This is a more sophisticated approach. This technique depends on using production (P) and withdrawal (W) kanban cards and standard containers. The kanbans contain simple information relating to the parts to be produced. The cycle can be represented as five-stage procedure. 1. An empty container arrives at an output queue from a downstream workcentre. Attached to this container is W kanban.

Two Card Kanban

2. The W kanban authorizes material withdrawal and a full container is sent to the workcentre downstream. The P kanban attached authorizes the workcentre to manufacture product.

3. The workcentre completes a batch of product. The P kanban is now attached to the full container at the output queue.

Two Card Kanban

4. The empty container in the input queue is sent to the upstream workcentre along with its attached W kanban.

5. The upstream workcentre is authorized to send a full container.

Single Card Kanban

This technique is simpler as only withdrawal kanbans are used. The five stage cycle is shown below. The process is similar to two card kanban except production is controlled externally. This approach can be considered to be a hybrid push-pull system.

Other Kanban Techniques

There are number of other techniques available for implementing a pull system. Some companies use signal kanbans. Here, when inventory reaches a predetermined level a kanban is hung on a signal post where it is highly visible. Finally, some companies have developed methods for transmitting the signal to produce to a remote location. This can be accomplished in variety of ways; 1. Lights 2. Semaphore 3. Rolling coloured golf balls down transparent tubing Example of a Kanban Card

Determining the Number of Kanbans Needed

 Setting up a kanban system requires determining the number of kanbans cards (or containers) needed  Each container represents the minimum production lot size  An accurate estimate of the lead time required to produce a container is key to determining how many kanbans are required.

Example of Kanban Card Determination: Problem Data

A switch assembly is assembled in batches of 4 units from an upstream assembly area and delivered in a special container to a downstream control-panel assembly operation The control-panel assembly area requires 5 switch assemblies per hour The switch assembly area can produce a container of switch assemblies in 2 hours Safety stock has been set at 20% of needed inventory

Example of Kanban Card Determination: Calculations

Pre-requisites for Kanban

Kanban is a very simple yet efficient means of control. There are however, a number of pre-requisites before Kanban can be employed as the sole means of control.  Repetitive Manufacture: Clearly, Kanban cannot be used in an engineer to order environment.  Machine Layout: Kanban cannot be used in a functional layout.  Small lot sizes: In practice, for Kanban to be successful it is essential that lot sizes are small. It means short changeover times.  Stable Demand: Kanban cannot respond to highly fluctuating level schedules.

Traditional vs. JIT Approach

Traditionally, in the West, problems have been seen as something to be avoided. In factories, problems such as poor quality, unreliability of machines etc, have been addressed by the use of safety stocks. Sophisticated techniques have been developed determine the appropriate level of these stocks. to

In addition to this, companies have invested in complex computer systems for planning and control that help to avoid such problems in manufacturing.

Traditional vs. JIT Approach

This approach is sometimes likened to a ship negotiating a river (river and rocks analogy). The Western approach is to increase the level of water to allow the ship to pass. Where some obstacles are too large to be covered, radar is used to avoid the problems. The JIT approach is fundamentally different. Here, the root cases of the problems are attacked using a variety of techniques (e.g. TQM, TPM and SMED). Then, stock levels are reduced and this reveals other problems which themselves are attacked. This process is repeated indefinitely, leading to continuous improvement (or Kaizan).
The Classical Approach

The JIT Approach

Examples of Successful JIT Systems

Toyota is considered by many to be the poster child for JIT success. The Toyota production strategy is highlighted by the fact that raw materials are not brought to the production floor until an order is received and this product is ready to be built. No parts are allowed at a node unless they are required for the next node, or they are part of an assembly for the next node. This philosophy has allowed Toyota to keep a minimum amount of inventory which means lower costs. It also means that Toyota can adapt quickly to changes in demand without having to worry about disposing of expensive inventory.

Examples of Successful JIT Systems

Dell has also used JIT principles to make its manufacturing process a success. Dells approach to JIT is different in that they leverage their suppliers to achieve the JIT goal. Dell is able to provide exceptionally short lead times to their customers, by forcing their suppliers to carry inventory instead of carrying it themselves and then demanding (and receiving) short lead times on components so that products can be simply assembled by Dell quickly and then shipped to the customer.

While there is no generally accepted definition of JIT, it is best thought of as a approach that attempts to eliminate waste. It is a decentralised approach that means people at all levels in the organisation are involved in decision-making. JIT is the most influential idea in industry in the last twenty years. It is a philosophy that requires changes not only to plant and its layout, but also attitudes throughout organizations.

Tools & Technologies

In order to support competitive priorities and manufacturing objectives companies may implement different technologies and tools in their systems. Some of which are listed.