Implementing a just in time system is a huge undertaking and the rewards for doing so will also be huge. Previously we outlined the basic Just In Time (JIT) principle of having the right amount of products, where we need it and when we need it, as well as the basic information we need to collect to give us the full understanding of our manufacturing processes and parts supply. Before we throw ourselves into full implementation mode, it is worth considering a few factors which will help determine the success of your JIT system, where to begin and what to avoid. As with implementing any new Lean system, we are striving for stability first, then improvement.
– Internal or external supplier
It may sound obvious, but considering whether your part comes from an internal supplier or external will determine how easy it is to get the supplier on board. Internal suppliers are a good place to start; get that simple system up and running first, then consider how to engage your external suppliers and get them involved
– Supplier reliability
The reliability or level of defects from a supplier will alter the numbers in your data table. Make sure you add a margin for parts that have know quality issues; if one part number has 10% defects, add 10% to the order quantity, assuming you will be returning that 10%
A consideration of risk is needed for each group of parts or suppliers. For parts, if running our of one part means complete disaster, then consider holding a safety stock until the robustness of the JIT system is established. Similarly for suppliers, know where the trouble may lie and ensure you have a buffer for that group of parts.
– Internal storage
While implementing a just in Time system, consider starting with a two-stages process, creating an internal storage area that supplies into the main assembly process. Monitor that for a few weeks and continue to problem solve and get that part of the supply process running well. Having that buffer will allow you to focus on one the section of the process. Then process to extend the JIT system to the suppliers and then run our the buffer and link the two loops together.
– Implement in stages
As well as implementing your JIT system in stages for the manufacturing process, also consider looking at one part family or supplier and use that pilot to get a better understanding of the issues your particular business and products will face.
With these aspects considered as you head out to start implementing a Just in time system, remember that it won’t be smooth sailing. The ability of you and your team to problem solve and build a robust system will ensure your success.