In today’s competitive global business environment, the goal of all manufacturing systems is long-term survival. A manufacturing company’s survival in an increasingly competitive market closely depends upon its ability to produce highest quality product at lowest possible cost and in a timely manner with shortest possible lead-time. In addition, these goals should be achieved by paying utmost respect to the humanity of the employees who make the system work. Sometime, the difficulty of achieving the goals lies in the complexity of manufacturing operations. It is not difficult to build the high quality product, but is extremely difficult to do so while maintaining excellent quality, and at some time respecting the humanity of people who do the actual work of building that product.
A Just-in-Time (JIT) based approach, which is suggested here, is capable of achieving all above stated goals. Just-in-Time (JIT) Based Quality Management is both philosophy and guiding set of principles that integrates the basic management techniques, existing improvement efforts, and technical tools. This approach stressed on longterm benefits resulting from waste elimination, and continuous improvements to systems, programs, products, and people. It has significant impact on quality control, purchasing functions, and work culture with a philosophy that encompasses cost, meeting delivery schedules, employee’s empowerment and skill development, supplier relations and development of new products. But, this approach requires the plants to keep trim inventories because even small glitch in supply chain management, and small failure rate of defective items can bring production to standstill. Some unique techniques of purchasing and quality control are therefore developed in such a way that raw material or components of high quality can be arrived at factory just as they needed, and production of defective items can be reduced to near zero level.
Conceptually, JIT approach combines apparently conflicting objectives of low cost, high quality, manufacturing flexibility, and delivery dependability. Its effects are significant in improving the overall performance of the whole organization. However, there is no standard to implement JIT other than continuous progress towards the ultimate objective of delivery as wanted, with a smoothly synchronized continuous flow keyed to final demand, with perfect quality of incoming goods. The adoption of JIT based approach in Indian context may be helpful for those industries, which are still struggling with problems of unreliable and long lead-time, inferior quality, low productivity, high rate of scrap and defects, shortage of raw-material, and under utilization of workers and equipment’s.
Theory of JIT Production
JIT Based Quality management is combination of inventory control, quality control and production management functions that makes sincere efforts for quality improvement by two ways. First, it concentrates on philosophical aspect of quality improvement by making the quality everyone’s responsibility, and then focused on effective implementation of quality control techniques. It recognized that most valuable resources of an organization are its workers, and workers work best when they are motivated, valued, encouraged to contribute, and allowed to make their own decisions.
Under JIT production approach, Workers inspect the product quality after each successive operation. They are trained along with managers in preparation and interpretation of process control charts. Managers motivate the workers to think quality first and production rate second. The workers have authority to halt the production line or cell, if quality problems are uncovered. Thus, this concept not only gives the quality responsibility to workers but also match that responsibility with authority to share the quality control functions so that quality problems can be uncovered and solved quickly.
Also, JIT production system demands to buy parts in small lots. Small lots require less space and time. Less space and time require less peoples and facilities to complete the same job. Besides, small lots easy to inspect, and defects can be immediately detected. Thus, the parts that are purchased steadily in small lot sizes with frequent deliveries contribute to higher quality and productivity through lower levels of inventory and scrap, lower inspection costs for incoming parts, and early detection of defects.
In short, JIT based approaches has potential to improve the product quality and productivity to significant level but organizations must adopt its principles in way that meet their own organizational structure, design and processes.