What Is Just In Time Manufacturing (JIT): Definition, Concept And Benefits [PDF]

Do you know overproduction is worse than underproduction? Manufacturers lose billions of dollars just because of overproduction which is due to wrong market research or wrong prediction. Just In Time Manufacturing (JIT) helps to solve this problem up to a great extent. Excited? Let’s dive in and explore Just In time Manufacturing concepts, methodology along with some benefits, and how it is helping manufacturers saving billions of dollars every year.

Just In Time Manufacturing also called Just In Time Lean Manufacturing.

What Is Just In Time Manufacturing

As the name suggests, Just In Time manufacturing is a management philosophy that produces only those products that customer wants, at what quantity they want, at what time they want, at which location they want. No production of such products for which companies won’t get paid.

The key objective of Just In Time Manufacturing is to produce the optimum amount of products with minimum lead time and at the lowest cost possible. It is also known as Just In Time Production or Toyota Production System

just in time manufacturing
Image Credit : Freepik

Just in time manufacturing does not believe in stocking extra products or raw materials. Instead, they utilize the extra money and resource in improving the product quality and add value to their customers.

Just In Manufacturing not only concentrates on producing the required amount of products, but it also makes sure that every workstation in a manufacturing cycle does not do any extra job which does not have any benefits

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History of Just In Time Manufacturing

Although the concept of JIT was initiated by a British motor corporation back in 1950 in Australia, the actual implementation happened in Japan between 1960 and 1970 by Totoya. After world war 2, Japan was low on resources, raw materials, and limited inventory. They were in need to come back to the manufacturing sector.

They had to come up with some concept which could enable them to get a footprint in manufacturing. Just in time manufacturing was one of those successful things that Japan has introduced to the rest of the world.

It took a couple of years for Toyota to become a master in Just In Time Manufacturing, which is now very popular in many industries, and many leaders like Dell, Ford, GE uses this JIT methodology.

Nowadays there is hardly any manufacturing industry that does not follow Just In time manufacturing even if it is a very small industry. In fact, it is now an integral part of every manufacturing process flow. Companies no longer believe in storing their inventory for which they may never get any benefits.

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Objective Of Just In Time Manufacturing

Here are couple of key objectives of Just In Time Manufacturing that industries try to achieve.

  • Produce only those products which customer needs.
  • Have only those features that customer needs in their products
  • Produce a product with a minimum lead time
  • Product a product with a minimum resource and money
  • Eliminate a product or process that does not add any value
  • Believe in optimum production and not in overproduction
  • Listen to your voice of the customer

Just In Time Manufacturing Philosophy

Just In Time Manufacturing philosophy is removing waste and an absolute zero in terms of manufacturing issues or process discrepancy. Below are the types of waste and types of zero in Just In Time Manufacturing

7 Types Of Waste in Just In Time Manufacturing

  • Process waste: A waste due to the wrong process
  • Transportation waste: A waste due to excessive movement of material
  • Motion waste: Waste due to excessive movement of operators
  • Inventory waste: Waste due to excess inventory
  • Product defect waste: Waste due to product defects and recalls
  • Overproduction waste: Waste due to excessive production
  • Waiting for time waste: A waste due to delay in getting parts

7 Types of zero in Just In Time Manufacturing

  • Zero defects: Make it first time correct
  • Zero lot size: Don’t produce a batch of parts
  • Zero setups: Machine setup time should be zero
  • Zero breakdowns: Zero breakdowns of the machine
  • Zero lead time: Product parts with an optimum lead time
  • Zero handing: Stop excessive movement or handling of parts
  • Zero Surging: Keep the production plan smooth

Difference between traditional manufacturing vs Just in time manufacturing

Traditional ManufacturingJust In Time Manufacturing
The goal is to maximize productionThe goal is to optimize production
Does believe that they can sell what they makeDoes believe that they will only make what they can sell
No concept of waste removalStrongly recommend to remove waste
No optimum use of resourcesOptimum use of resources is the key in JIT
Believes in forcastingBelieves in market research
Chances of revenue loss due to over productionNo revenue loss as JIT makes what can be sold
Quality of product is not consistentConsistent quality is possible.
Competitive pricing of products is big painOptimum pricing can be achieved
Lower level of customer satisfactionHigher level of customer satisfaction

How to implement Just In Time Manufacturing

The methodology of implementing Just In Time manufacturing is different from industry to industry. There is no well-documented manual that will tell you how to implement JIT. The reason is, JIT is a philosophy, an approach that helps to streamline the production line and achieve what is actually needed. Having said that, every industry should meet these following requirement before that can be ready to implement Just In Time Manufacturing.

  • Concept of pull production
  • Standardized operation
  • Single piece flow
  • Quality improvement
  • Reliable resources and machines
  • Adopted 5S in workstations
  • Listen to the voice of customers

Pull Production

Just In time manufacturing believes in pull-type production. The operator does not need to search for parts or someone does not need to push any part to assemble. Instead, there will be conveyors in the production line which will present the required part at the required time to the operator.

Standardized Operation

Standardizing the operation is key to JIT. If you know how your different manufacturing operation is performing, you can pick deficient processes in the flow. You can either correct those processes or implement a new process so that the whole production flow is streamlined.

Single Piece Flow

Every industry should produce a single product at a single point in time. That does not mean that you will only produce a single product for the whole day. What I mean to say is that in a production line you should have only one product at a given time. Once that product is produced, you can produce other products. Big industries have thousands of such product line is a factory.

Quality Improvement

Just in time manufacturing is of no use if you can not improve your product or process quality. Quality and waste removals complement each other. So if you remove wastes, you may see that overall quality is getting improved.

Reliable Resources & Machines

Resources and machines are the heart of manufacturing. If you don’t have the best of resources and machinery, no JIT concept will work. So unless we have the required set of efficient machines and efficient workers we should not focus on JIT.

Adopted 5S in wordstations

Below is a few 5S activities that you should implement first before you get into implementing Just In Time Manufacturing. The below list also shows the actual Japanese term that is used in 5S.

  • Sort ( Seiri)
  • Set (Seiton)
  • Shine ( Seiso)
  • Standardize ( Seiketsu)
  • Sustain ( Shitsuke)

Listen to voice of customer

We are for customers, customers are not for us. We need to change our mindset in that way. We need to understand what customers want, when the customer wants, what quantity the customer wants, what quality the customer wants, and most importantly what price the customer wants to pay for our product.

Benefits of Just In Time Manufacturing

Here are couple of key benefits that Just In Manufacturing offers to industries.

  • Optimum production rate
  • Least manpower resource utilization
  • Reduced lead production time
  • No worry of overproduction
  • Reduction of inventory cost
  • Reduction of floor space
  • Reduction of handling requirements
  • Reduction of defects
  • Improved product quality
  • Quick turn around time for products
  • Transparent production flow chart
  • Efficient screening of machine performance
  • Fewer service calls
  • The high rate of productivity
  • Clean and hygiene work environment
  • A higher level of customer satisfaction
  • Increased market share.

Disadvantages Of Just In Time Manufacturing

Like other quality improvement processes or optimization processes, Just in time manufacturing also has a set of disadvantages as shown below.

  • Optimized production sucks when there is a sudden unexpected surge of demands
  • Chance of failing customer demands
  • Chances of losing revenue due to the product getting out of stock
  • Experience resource required to implement and maintain JIT
  • The steep learning curve to sustain in the JIT environment
  • The initial setup cost of implementing JIT is a pain for many industries
  • Chances of losing market share if customer demands are not met.

Conclusion: Just In Time Lean Manufacturing

No doubt, Just in time manufacturing is the need of the time. At a time when there is tough competition in every sector, industries that adopt specialized and proven methodology like JIT has an edge always. But at the same time, there are a couple of risks associated with JIT. Companies have to find a win-win scenario when they plan to plan to implement Just In time manufacturing.

In this article, I just covered the basics of JIT. Different companies use a different set of tools and data to implement JIT. Capturing all those is next to impossible and may not be appropriate also.

That’s all I have today in this article. I hope this article could offer you at least the basics of Just In Time Manufacturing. You can always throw your questions to me in case you something. I will be more than happy to assist you.


A 2004 batch Mechanical Engineering graduate From NIT, Agartala. Close to 16 years of experience in the field of consumer electronics and appliances domain as a Sr. Design Engineer and Team Leader in India and the United States. A GD&T practitioner, with expertise in Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. Crazy about exploring CAD-CAM tools and in his free time love to go for a ride with his champ, Rian.