Just-in-Time and Lean Systems - Review Notes of Chase et al. Book Chapter

Just-in-time or JIT is an integrated set of activities designed to achieve high-volume production using minimal inventories of raw materials, work in process, and finished goods. Parts arrive at the next workstation "just in time" and are completed and move through the operation quickly. Nothing is produced until it is needed later in the assembly line. The consumer expresses a need for a product, and "pulls" demand through the production system.

In Japan, JIT has been used to isolate the elements of waste in an organization. The Japanese practice a great respect for people and depend on the personnel to identify and eliminate sources of waste, excess, and inefficiency. The basic elements of JIT are a focused factory with networks following the strategy of reducing waste, the use of group technology or teams for problem-solving, quality at the source so no time and energy and materials are wasted on less than perfect quality products, uniform plant loading, Kanban production control systems, and empowerment of workforce.

While North American systems have modified JIT, the techniques can be used in layouts and design flows as well as in job shops. JIT has also merged in theory and practice with TQC, or building quality into the process. JIT works at its best when only good-quality products are pulled through the system and no "just-in-case" extra inventory is needed.

JIT requires a stable schedule over a lengthy time horizon. Along, with customers and employees, who are key components of the JIT system, vendors are also important to the process.

JIT is also applicable to service industries. Successful service applications include organizing problem-solving groups, upgrading housekeeping and quality, clarifying process flows, eliminating unnecessary activities, and developing supplier networks among others.

JIT is a powerful tool for reducing inventory and improving production and service operations. Management support, commitment, and training to continuing JIT progress are essential to success.

Industrial engineering and JIT

I define industrial engineering as human effort engineering and systems efficiency engineering. Functional design of a system is not the core focus of industrial engineers. There are various disciplines of engineering for functional design. Each of the designs created by functional engineers can be evaluated by industrial engineers for efficiency audit and improvement. JIT may have started as an efficiency improvement initiative. But now JIT could have become a functional discipline. Industrial engineers still have the role to audit efficiency of JIT systems and improve their efficiency further with the tools of efficiency currently in their tool box and tools which may come out subsequently.

Chapter Outline of

Richard B. Chase, F. Robert Jacobs, Nicholas J. Aquilano, Operations Management for Competitive Advantage, 10/e, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2004

JIT Logic
The Toyota Production System
Elimination of Waste
Respect for People
North American Modifications of JIT
JIT Implementation Requirements
JIT Layouts and Design Flows
JIT Applications for Line Flows
JIT Applications for Job Shops
TQC (Total Quality Control)
A Stable Schedule
Work with Suppliers
JIT in Services

Case: Toyota, Ford, GM, and Volkswagen - Some Differing Opinions about Working with Suppliers
Case: Quality Parts Company


Richard B. Chase, F. Robert Jacobs, Nicholas J. Aquilano, Operations Management for Competitive Advantage, 10/e, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2004


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