Manufacturing 101: Just-in-Time Manufacturing

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To anyone outside the industry, manufacturing topics may seem foreign or devastatingly simple. You might wonder why quality seems to mean different things, or why manufacturers always talk about Lean when we know that can be bad for posture. But while these might sound off-putting, most people are actually familiar with manufacturing concepts in their everyday lives.

Among these ideas is Just-In-Time (JIT) Manufacturing, a specific principle used in Lean manufacturing to improve processes. While it might sound like Justin Timberlake’s new watch collection, it’s actually about using what you need and having less clutter. For everyday life, it can be helpful to think about JIT in terms of how you might prepare a meal at home. Unless you have unlimited space in your kitchen, you don’t keep endless quantities of things you rarely use. If you had to drive out to get coffee beans before actually drinking your coffee every morning, it would waste time and money, making the endeavor a miserable one that would barely be worth the effort.

Thankfully, the JIT ideology offers balance to the madness. You may get all your ingredients for the next day from the store on your way home from work, enabling you to stock up without sacrificing space, time, or materials. In a factory setting, JIT reduces the amount of time that parts will stay in a warehouse or otherwise remain onsite before being delivered to the customer. Ideally, supplies arrive on a timely, as-needed basis, which keeps extra tools from hogging extra space. This may require more shipments and smaller increments, but it proves essential to the stability of the JIT system and allows operations to become more efficient over time.

JIT manufacturing may seem simple, but it’s a problem the average person – not just business owners – faces in ordinary situations. Just know it isn’t worth trying to get fresh coffee beans every morning at the supermarket – it is more than okay to keep things on hand for the right time.

Want to know how MAGNET can help you manufacture success?
Call Linda Barita at 216.391.7766 or email linda.barita@magnetwork.org for more information.

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Posted by Michael Boebinger in Fun, Lean, Manufacturing 101

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