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Just In Time manufacturing

In order to keep up with customer demands, manufacturers are turning to shorter cycle times. With all of the added pressure to have shorter cycle times, manufacturers are putting additional pressure on their equipment and on their suppliers. Many manufacturers have found that holding inventory, ties up their cash reserves, and they actually lose more money than they make. This is because inventory forces businesses to find a warehouse, to house the inventory, not to mention the cost of delivery to and from the warehouse. These companies have found that a smart way to gain control of their inventory is to implement just-in-time manufacturing.

Just-in-time manufacturing works can be compared to flying. You arrive at the airport, check-in your bags, go through security, check into the gate, and walk right onto the plane only to have it take off just seconds after you sit down. Just-in-time manufacturing works similar to this, in that product is produced only on demand, so valuable time is not wasted. This means that employees and equipment are not being paid to sit by idly. All of your resources will be used to produce a product at exactly the right time, to maximize job duties and improve productivity.

With just-in-time manufacturing, manufacturing businesses can eliminate costs that have no value to the company, or to the final product. Typically the wastes that will be eliminated include:

  • Carrying too much inventory

  • Faulty machinery

  • Improper production methods

  • Unnecessary movement of goods.

Most often just-in-time is used by businesses with repetitive processes that produce the same product on a consistent basis. It is important to realize that just-in-time manufacturing, will zero out inventory, and hold only one of each product you sell. This will reduce inventory waste, and it improves business costs, because of the long-term maintenance of your products. In turn because a business is not holding inventory, it can focus on daily production. This helps by not having to pay employees to stand by a machine that isn't being run. When just-in-time is used, employees will always have a job to perform.

Just-in-time also reduces set-up costs since businesses, no longer need to worry about setting up the assembly line, for one product at a time. The manufacturing schedule will designate certain machines and times, and it has been shown to cut down the set-up times by 50 percent. Just-in time also helps everyone on the line to communicate effectively. It can help employees to have better planning, and search for ways the product can be re-designed, to save more time and money. While this can sound like you will be spending more time on set-up, it is actually less if you calculate in how much time you spent controlling inventory and dealing with machine changeover times.

In addition, since employees are required to communicate more, it helps to keep the machines on consistent schedules. This will directly impact labor costs because management can determine how many employees are needed on-site, and which ones can be transferred to other jobs, while certain products are being produced. It should not noted that training employees to have multiple skills will save the business thousands of dollars on wasted compensation. Also, employees that have more training find that management assigns them with more responsibility, which helps to increase employee morale and job satisfaction.

Just-in-time helps manufacturers to find the problems and fix them before they become worse. This can help cut back on the number of employees needed to run equipment, and it can help regulate cash flow better. By producing only what need is needed, when you need it, you eliminate the room for errors to occur.

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