Archive for April, 2010


Advantages and Disadvantages of Just-in-Time (JIT) Manufacturing and Inventory Control System

April 12, 2010

Traditionally manufacturers have forecasted demand for their products into the future and then have attempted to smooth out production to meet that forecasted demand. At the same time, they have also attempted to keep everyone as busy as possible producing output so as to maximize “efficiency” and (hopefully) reduce costs. Unfortunately, this approach has a number of major drawbacks including large inventories, long production times, high defect rates, production obsolescence, inability to meet delivery schedules, and (ironically) high costs. Non of this is obvious -if it were, companies would long ago have abandoned this approach.

JIT is a production and inventory control system in which materials are purchased and units are produced only as needed to meet actual customer demand. In just in time manufacturing system inventories are reduced to the minimum and in some cases they are zero.

JIT works in the three types of inventories:

a) Raw materials: inventories provide insurance in case suppliers are late with deliveries.

b) Work in process: inventories are maintained in case a work station is unable to operate due to a breakdown or other reason.

c) Finished goods: inventories are maintained to accommodate unanticipated fluctuations in demand.

 The main BENEFITS of JIT are the following:

  1. Funds that were tied up in inventories can be used elsewhere.
  2. Areas previously used to store inventories can be used for other more productive uses.
  3. Throughput time is reduced, resulting in greater potential output and quicker response to customers.
  4. Defect rates are reduced, resulting in less waste and greater customer satisfaction.

Most companies find, however, that simply reducing inventories is not enough. To remain competitive in an ever changing and ever competitive business environment, must strive for continuous improvement.

 A real business example: Dell Computer Corporation

In this company an order for a customized personal computer that comes in over the internet at 9 am, can be on a delivery truck to the customer by 9 p.m. In addition, Dell’s low cost production system allows it to under price its rivals by 10% to 15%. How does the company’s just in time system deliver lower costs? While machines from Compaq and IBM can languish on dealer shelves for two months Dell does not start ordering components and assembling computers until an order is booked. By ordering right before assembly, Dell figures it s parts, on average, are 60 days newer than those in an IBM or Compaq machine. That can translate into a 6% profit advantage in components alone.

Source: Gray McWilliams, “Whirlwind on the web, “Business Week, April 7, 1997.

 PCs Just In Time Management.


Implementing thorough JIT procedures can involve a major overhaul of business systems -it may be difficult and expensive to introduce.

JIT manufacturing also opens businesses to a number of risks, notably those associated with the supply chain. With no stocks to fall back on, a minor disruption in supplies to the business from just one supplier could force production to cease at very short notice. 

A real business example: Toyota

Just-in-time manufacturing system is vulnerable to unexpected disruptions in supply chain. A production line can quickly come to a halt if essential parts are unavailable. Toyota, the developer of JIT, found this out the hard way. One Saturday, a fire at Aisin Seiki Company’s plant stopped the delivery of all break parts to Toyota. By Tuesday, Toyota had to close down all of its Japanese assembly line. By the time the supply of break parts had been restored, Toyota had lost an estimated $15 billion in sales.

Source: “Toyota to Recalibrate ,'” International Herald Tribune, February 8, 1997.

More info:




Just-in-Time Inventory Control (JIT)

April 12, 2010

The Dictionary of Business Terms defines Just-in-Time (JIT) as a method of close coordination with suppliers maximizing the relationship between production and sales levels with inventory, reducing carrying costs. Often JIT is linked with a computerized Point-Of-Sale System and inventory levels are maintained through an automated reordering system connected to suppliers, so that stock-outs are minimized.

On the other hand, the Dictionary of Marketing Terms defines JIT as a strategy of retailers who maintain almost no excess on-hand inventory, relying upon suppliers to deliver inventory as needed. JIT delivery is most beneficial to retailers with high inventory, financing, storage, and insurance costs. The retailer may transfer sales data directly to suppliers via point-of-sale terminals.

For both disciplines –Business and Marketing– the main point is focused in make benefits higher thanks to the same inventory management strategy: Just in time that allows minimize the costs associated with inventory control and maintenance.

The Just-in-Time is a Japanese industrial management method developed in 1950. It was first adopted by Toyota manufacturing plants by Kiichiro who can be regarded as the father of JIT.

Something that led the Just-in-Time was developed with other production techniques, was that after the Second World War, Japan was completely destroyed. In a small nation like Japan, the most valuable asset is the physical space (Japan has an area =369,883 km2 and a population = 123,000,000). The Japanese people could not sow, and they had no capital to start manufacturing, so the only thing that remained them was to maximize the few resources they had.


Part I:

If in the 50s the technological and industrial development were owned almost exclusively of the United States, largely due to his victory in the Second World War, in the 80s this trend was reversed towards Japan.

The first company to introduce this method of production, Toyota, quickly became a world leader in its sector. The effectiveness of the JIT rushed them to improve and refine their philosophy, which came to affect all areas of the company, not only Production but also Human Resources, Management… 

Part II:


VIDEOS about Transportation and Logistics

April 11, 2010

In this video you can see the connection between the economy of a country and its transportation systems. Investing in infrastructures is directly connected with competitiveness in the global economy.

Investing in transportation is investing in the future.

The USA example:

 The Hong-Hong example:

The UPS way working example:

Video that shows some jobs involved with Transportation, Distribution and Logistics. They are essential to make our lives easier:


Transportation: An American company example

April 11, 2010

The web page of this company ( is interesting because it’s a good example of how a logistic company specialized in international transportation can give a good service in logistics area to other firms.

Access America is the premier transportation provider in North America. They are a third-party logistics company handling all modes of transportation including van, flatbed, refrigerated/frozen, and intermodal service. They have access to over 400,000 trucks (Truckload & LTL Carriers) in addition to supply chain management services, specialized transportation, and shipping by rail services

Access America Transport is a full service transportation company based in Chattanooga, TN. AAT handles all modes of transportation including less-than-truckload, van, flatbed, and refrigerated / frozen freight. Access America was founded in 2002 by Ted Alling and Barry Large as the Logistics Division of Key-James Brick. Soon after the initial concept, AAT diversified into other commodities and grew quickly.

In 2003 Access opened a transload facility and location in Birmingham which allowed Access America to expand its services and diversify shipping capabilities.

In 2005 Access America started the Government Services division. The division began hauling freight for the Department of Defense, but quickly diversified into other government agencies.

In 2006 the firm opening additional locations in Alabama and Minnesotan and also expanded into less-than-truckload (LTL) and heavy haul. An online LTL system was created to allow customers to go online, compare pricing, and book freight instantly. The software was integrated to work seamlessly with AAT’s load management system.

In 2007 Access America continued to expand by upgrading and adding additional technology and supply chain management systems.

2008 and 2009 were the years of the public recognitions. It starts in 2008 with the certified by Signature Management as ISO 9001:2000 for its quality management systems. The company was also named to the Hot 100 list of the fastest growing companies in the state of Tennessee. The company also received last year the Top 100 3PL recognition from Inbound Logistics, while SupplyChainBrain named Access America to its list of 100 Great Supply Chain Partners.  It’s a link to the blog of Access America Transport about 2010 freight outlook. It’s interesting to know the main thoughts of different experts about transportation in the Truckload Carriers Association annual meeting.

Finally, as a journalist, I recommend the website of the Inbound Logistics, a free online magazine which is an interesting educational resource for business professionals looking to use logistics for competitive advantage: