There are many production systems or philosophies that companies adopt to achieve what the customer wants, in other words, to achieve a high level of customer service. Among these systems are Just in Time (JIT), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Efficient Customer Response (ECR), among others that stand out as well. Each of these systems or philosophies has its particularities when it comes to their application, which does not mean that they do not have the same goal. A good application of any of these can bring substantial benefits to the company. In the case of JIT, today it is widely used by leading companies.


Lefcovich (2007) argues that the JIT method is not just another project to eliminate waste or waste. It’s not just another program to motivate staff or reduce defects. It’s not just another destocking project. It’s not just another method to reduce production lead times, space, or setup times. It is not simply a production or purchasing project. It is not a project at all, but a process. It is not a list of things to do, but a process that helps establish an order of priorities in what is done. The purpose of the JIT method is to improve a company’s ability to respond economically to change.

The Just-in-Time system has four essential objectives, which are:

  • Design systems to identify problems.
  • Attack the fundamental problems.
  • Eliminate waste.
  • Search for simplicity.

If we compare the traditional approach of inspection and quality control with the JIT method, we can see that the traditional approach has been to determine upper and lower limits (tolerances) and if the measurements fall outside these two limits, the product is scrapped or it was reprocessed. Instead, the Just-in-Time approach is to reduce the deviation from the ideal nominal, not tolerating any deviation from the nominal.

In addition, the JIT transfers the responsibility of detecting and correcting deviations to the operators who carry out the processes. They are expected to get it right the first time and to prevent products from deviating too far from nominal.

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The JIT approach, based on the use of drag-type systems, ensures that production does not exceed immediate needs, thus reducing work in progress and stock levels, while reducing manufacturing lead times. And the time that would otherwise be unproductive is spent eliminating sources of future problems through a preventative maintenance program.

The main advantages that can be obtained from the use of Just-in-Time drag/Kanban systems are the following:

  • Reduction in the number of products in progress.
  • Reduced stock levels.
  • Reduction of manufacturing times.
  • Gradual reduction of the number of products in progress.
  • Identification of areas that create bottlenecks.
  • Identification of quality problems.
  • Simpler management.

The JIT system for better operation uses a system of cards called “instruction cards” (also known as Kanban), which have the function of acting as an automatic management device that gives information about what is going to be produced, in what quantity, by what means and how to transport it.

The fact that these kanbans pull systems to identify bottlenecks and other problems was initially seen as a disadvantage in the West. Why do we want to identify problems? Why not forget them? Well, the objective of the JIT is precisely to solve the fundamental problems and this can only be achieved if the problems are identified.

The systems designed with the application of JIT must be designed in such a way that they activate some type of warning when a problem arises, based on solving the first objective, since if the problem is not known, it is not known what to attack. If we want to apply JIT seriously we have to do two things:

  1. Establish mechanisms to identify problems.
  2. Being willing to accept a short-term reduction in efficiency to gain a long-term advantage.

How to identify problems?

The Kanban pull system brings problems to light, while Statistical Process Control (SPC) helps pinpoint the source of the problem. With JIT, any system that identifies problems is considered beneficial, and any system that masks them is detrimental. Kanban pulls systems to identify problems and is therefore beneficial. Traditional approaches tended to hide the fundamental problems and thus delay or prevent the solution.

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Attack the problems

Once these problems have been identified, it only remains to give them a solution, in addition to analyzing the possible alternative solutions to take the least expensive one. Sometimes solving a problem in the short term does not mean substantial advantages, and vice versa for solutions to problems in the long term, so you have to decide well which decision alternative to take.

Eliminate waste

Eliminating waste involves much more than a single, once-and-for-all effort. It requires a continuous struggle to gradually increase the efficiency of the organization and requires the collaboration of a large part of the company’s workforce. If you want to eliminate losses effectively, the program must involve the full participation of the majority of the employees. This means that you have to change the traditional approach of telling each employee exactly what to do and move to the JIT philosophy in which special emphasis is placed on the need to respect workers and include their contributions when formulating plans. and make the facilities work. Only in this way can we fully utilize the experiences and expertise of employees.

Search for simplicity

Complexity was inevitable for many years in management approaches. This system emphasizes the search for simplicity, based on the principle that simple approaches will lead to more effective management. The first leg of the path to simplicity covers two areas:

  1. material flow.
  2. Control.

A simple approach to material flow is to eliminate complex routes and look for more direct lines of flow, if possible unidirectional. Most batch manufacturing plants are organized according to what we might call a process layout. For this reason, most of the items made in this factory will follow a circuitous route. Typically each process involves a considerable amount of waiting time added to the time spent transporting items (among the general confusion of factory activity) from one process to another. The consequences are well known: a large number of products in the pipeline and long lead times.

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The problems involved in trying to plan and control such a factory are enormous, and the typical symptoms are that late items rush through the factory while others are no longer needed immediately because of an order cancellation or a change in forecasts, they stop and are stuck in the factory. These symptoms have very little to do with the effectiveness of management. No matter how good a director is, you will have trouble controlling such a system. We can also try to deal with the problem, for example, by installing a computer control system in the factory; if the factory remains tremendously complex, the benefits gained are likely to be marginal.


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