Just in time

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Just in Time (JIT) is a production system that increases efficiency of a company by reducing inventory and eliminating costly and wasteful elements during production of goods at the right time to meet customer demand (T. Hill 1991, p. 218, K. Ficon 2001, p. 212).


The JIT system emerged from Asian automotive manufacturers and became prominent in the 1970s through Taichi Ohno at the Toyota Company; however, the beginning of the concept was first described in the United States by Henry Ford in the early 20th century and was used by companies such as 7-SEVEN where Taichi Ohno worked as a corporate vice president (K. Ficon 2001, p. 211).


JIT is a demand-pull system; therefore, increasing inventory suggest that there are some problems with managing production systems (Vademecum...1999, p. 161). According to the philosophy of JIT, there are no unnecessary inventories that generate additional cost for an organization. Materials used in production are ordered by management which decisions are based on sales forecasts. The control of inventory is regulated by the card system, called KANBAN that controls the movement of the materials in different stages of production (Nowoczesne...1996, p. 305).


The most important features of the system JIT (J. Coyle 2002, p. 125, Nowoczesne...1996, p. 305):

  • To minimize excessive inventory by improving collaboration between an organization and its suppliers to enhance the stability. Suppliers must be located near close enough to reduce time between ordering and receiving necessary goods that are delivered in small, but frequent amounts,
  • To deliver needed parts to every stage of production at the right time to minimize a necessity for stopping production lines that are divided into small factory units where the KANBAN system is used to meet JIT objectives and to improve the flow of information,
  • To use simply, automatic machines to improve productivity and flexibility of the production,
  • To educate employees, so that they are able to react in the proper way in case of any problems during production on every stage of the assembly line,
  • To decrease lead time and wasteful resources such as: unused space, equipment downtime, the surplus of production or employees,
  • To increase quality of the product by using rules of TQC (Total quality control) that place the responsibility of the quality on all employees who are directly involved in the production.


The implementation of JIT is not a simply process that require all employees' commitment in the continuous changes that must meet the new standards. The effective collaboration with suppliers also should be chosen carefully based on their cost, localization and the ability to deliver the necessary materials (K. Ficon 2001, p. 220). According to Japanese studies, companies that decided to implement JIT, were able to achieve significant results in relatively short time of 5 years by increasing the productivity, improving the quality of the products so that 90 percent products less were returned to a company, and the required space was reduced by 15 percent (K. Ficon 2001, p. 216).


Author: Marek Dziuba