The history of just-in-time manufacturing

With the vision of ordering vehicles in the fastest and most efficient way, Global manufacturing presents the evolution of the just-in-time manufacturing method, created by Toyota.


Japan’s adoption of just-in-time (JTI)

At the end of World War II, Japan’s main goal was to rebuild its industry with Western methodology in mind.

Gerhard Plenert, identified four challenges that occurred at this time:

  1. Lack of cash
  2. Lack of floor space
  3. Lack of natural resources
  4. An excess of labor

Taking 30 years to develop, Toyota pioneer of the just-in-time (JIT) method. The introduction of this method has helped the automaker to optimize its processes in response to these challenges to streamline its operations.


JIT spreads to Japan

In 1973, Japan faced an “oil shock”; an economic and political crisis that emerged from export restrictions during the Middle East War.

This crisis, coupled with Toyota’s sharing of its “Toyota Production System” – including the JIT method – has led to a rise in the importance of organizations taking note of the resilience of the automobile manufacturer.


JIT enters the United States

From 1977 to 1980, articles in English began to come out of Japan detailing the JIT method, which the United States quickly began to adopt, as well as other Western countries.


JIT changes its name and becomes “lean production”

In 1988, John krafcik, CEO of Waymo, coined the term “lean manufacturing” in an “MIT Sloan Management Review”. Krafcik used the term in reference to Ford and Toyota production systems.

“Rather than continuing to refer to different paradigms like recent Fordism and TPS, I would like to introduce two new terms here: buffered and lean production systems. ”


General Motors publishes its Global Manufacturing System

Following its partnership with Toyota to build cars in the United States, General Motors released its “Global Manufacturing System”.

Based on the “Toyota Production System,” General Motors’ system has provided the company with flexible production setups and processes designed so that all manufacturing plants around the world can build high quality vehicles at a competitive cost. .

2021 and beyond

Has COVID-19 put an end to the JIT method?

With the COVID-19 outbreak, long and lean supply chains have struggled with market volatility.

“The COVID pandemic has ruthlessly exposed weak spots in global supply chains and unleashed the perfect storm we find ourselves in now,” said CIPS.

Concerns centered on overdependence on CEE are raised. “JIT works brilliantly under the right circumstances and as such has been the cornerstone of cost-effective and lean sourcing for decades. But in exceptional circumstances, the risks increase and this model is often lacking ”, added CIPS.

So could this be the beginning of the end for JIT supply chain methods? Will organizations take a hybrid approach? Or will the industry rebound and continue to use the method that has served it well before? Only time will tell…

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