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Just in Time for Growth

Are you a manufacturer who wants to learn about reducing cycle times, getting your products on the market faster, and lowering your operating costs? 

We're here to talk to you about JIT (Just in Time Manufacturing). Post World War II, Japan was hurting as an economic crash led to the country implementing JIT as a means to reduce overhead costs and generate more profit. Long story short, Toyota was the first company to establish the framework of JIT. Since Toyota’s experiment, JIT has contributed to the growth and the progress of many other prominent companies, including:

  • Dell
  • Harley-Davidson
  • McDonald's 

Unlike just in case manufacturing, JIT involves a company only manufacturing goods if there's an active demand for production. Just in case manufacturing keeps massive inventory levels on hand to minimize the possibility of certain products going out of stock. 

The term 'lean manufacturing' has the tendency to be used interchangeably with JIT. While the two terms are similar, JIT is a building block of lean manufacturing.

Let's discuss what companies have to do to establish successful JIT practices. 

How to Utilize Just in Time Manufacturing 

JIT consists of many working components. If one or more of the below fundamentals are lacking, the entire process of JIT can be compromised. 

Here's a quick overview: 

Functional Machinery

It's imperative that your manufacturing equipment is functioning correctly. JIT requires you to rely on your equipment so you won't experience workflow issues during times of demand. 

5S Overview 

Having a visual overview is a considerable aspect of JIT. 5S is an optical management system that helps companies maintain their facilities through employees contributing to routine housekeeping tasks. 

The term 5S represents the following stages:

  • Sort 
  • Set in order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

It's a simple concept that a clean and tidy work environment aids manufacturing workflow—5S just helps you get there more efficiently. 

Employee and Team Empowerment

When practicing JIT, there is an emphasis on employees identifying and tackling problems themselves. Quality teams are often used as a tool in JIT to focus on locating and solving issues that affect production. 

Transparency Through Standardization 

Do you want your company to predict what the outcome of your process will be?

You need to establish standard working practices that yield the results you desire. After you have a clear cut plan, your outcomes will be more reliable. 

Pull Production

Pull production allows manufacturers to select output through the process to match specific customer demand. Companies either establish supermarkets that link to the different processes to then select products, or use signals to tell the prior process what exactly needs to be made. 

Single Piece Flow

To fully optimize JIT, companies should work toward having the ability to produce a single item based on one specific order. 

We know that this isn't realistic for all companies, so take steps toward that end goal, you can utilize smaller machines with more specific processes instead of giant, all-purpose devices. 

One conclusion we can make from the above info is that it's essential to organize and balance your manufacturing processes to match your customers' needs at a JIT rate. 

Now that we've touched on the primary working components of JIT let's move on to the benefits companies receive through these practices.  

JIT Benefits 

Let's cut to the chase: 

Companies utilize JIT to eliminate these seven types of manufacturing waste: 

  • Waste of time
  • Overproduction waste
  • Transportation waste
  • Processing waste 
  • Inventory waste 
  • Waste of motion 
  • Waste from product defects 


The above list only manages to touch on the benefits that JIT provides manufacturers. 

Let's take a deeper dive into JIT perks:

As a manufacturer, the quality of your products is of the utmost importance. When you simplify and thoroughly understand each segment of your production line, you'll reduce product defects.

The best companies are always working to improve. 

There's more room to evolve when you trim that fat on your manufacturing process. Working with smaller lots and reducing setup sizes allows you to make changes on the fly that elevate your company. 

A common theme within the discussion of JIT is workflow. Companies are always researching ways to establish a more efficient workflow. By limiting batch sizes through JIT, you reduce the chance of worker burnout and create flow balance that increases response times for customers.  

JIT provides qualitative and quantitative benefits. When you outline and execute JIT strategies, you'll increase productivity and reduce work expenses. 

At Dane Manufacturing, we use JIT to garner results.

Dane Manufacturing 

Dane Manufacturing is Wisconsin based and defines metal fabrication performance by utilizing JIT strategies. 

100 years of company history has led to Dane Manufacturing offering the following capabilities: 

The list above is an excellent example of how JIT allows companies to diversify their skills through multi-functional workers. 

How Dane Gets It Done 

Agility is vital when it comes to quickly fulfilling orders as speed to market makes the difference in who you do business with. 

By adopting a JIT philosophy, Dane Manufacturing reduces flow times within production systems while doing the same for supplier and customer requests.  

At Dane Manufacturing, we're never satisfied. 

We continuously analyze our work so that we can make continuous improvements. Our process is understood inside and out so our employees can produce exceptional products—quickly and consistently. A key element of gaining insight into our work is using visual tools to improve communication. 

Instead of using a push system, Dane Manufacturing generates more positive results by adopting a pull system. Using a pull system allows Dane to meet customer demand and eliminate waste. 

Working with a pull system allows us to create a more manageable workflow that creates sustainability and streamlines materials' movement.

By refining our manufacturing processes using JIT, Dane Manufacturing: 

  • Maintains physical organization 
  • Simplifies setup
  • Works in small lot sizes 
  • Achieves workflow balance
  • Reduces output time
  • Lowers defect rates 
  • Minimizes inventory costs 
  • Cuts down on waste 
  • Creates multi-functional workers