Toyotas Jit Revolution

1. The JIT production system was one of the most significant production management approaches of the post WWII era. Discuss in detail, the concept of the JIT and its advantages.

The implementation of the JIT (Just in Time) system implemented by Toyota, is to make the production process more effective in time and costs. The strongest point of the JIT system is to eliminate inventory, to reduce the transportation in between production places. "Just-in-Time" means making only "what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed." Having the right material, at the right time at the right place, and in the exact amount. The production of the product is directly related to the demand.

“Supplying "what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed" according to this production plan can eliminate waste, inconsistencies, and unreasonable requirements, resulting in improved productivity”. All the processes that involve JIT conform a chain that is “boosted” by the start of the first process at the first link of the chain, which will give way to the next link process consecutively. The JIT system is conformed mainly of the following components:

Jidoka, is a part of the Toyota Production System in which the worker can stop the production line if an abnormality is detected. This involves enough preparation and knowledge and familiarity with production and machinery from the worker.

Kanaban, is a system of cards that makes the JIT system function in a proper way. The right time of production and the right amount of production required is controlled by the correct application of the Kanaban system.

Heijunka, is an important part of the JIT process and it is used as the method to reduce the muda (waste). The way to do this is to eliminate the peaks of production and to stick to the production of intermediate goods at a constant rate, to allow further processing to be carried out at a constant and predictable rate.

Advantages of the JIT system:

-Reduction/Abolishment of inventory -Reduction of storage needs -Reduced setup time -Reduction in transportation in between processes -Higher product quality -Reduced operating costs -Preventing over-production -Reducing the capital you have tied up in stock -Decreasing product defects -Greater performance and throughput -Improved delivery -Motivation of workers is higher

The advantages of the JIT system are the following:

-Reduced setup time, workers are trained to be more familiar with machines and changing the settings and layouts for producing different traits can be done in less time. -The flow of goods from warehouse to shelves improves, by producing a product based on its demand the storage process is eliminated and the delivery procedure is shorter and more effective resulting in a reduction of costs. -Reduce storage areas

-Employees with multiple skills are used more efficiently throughout the workspace -Higher quality of the final product and throughout the whole product -Better control of problems throughout the process

-Motivation of workers is higher

2. Kanaban was an important component of Toyota´s JIT system´. Explain the concept of Kanaban used in Toyota. What are the advantages of “Kanaban” over the western manufacturing system?

The Kanaban is a system of cards used as part of the JIT system implemented by Toyota and in which most of it success relys on. The correct execution of the Kanaban cards is extremely important in order for the JIT process to be carried out successfully. This system is a scheduling system that tells you what to produce, when to produce it, and how much to produce. There are a certain number of Kanaban cards issued at the beginning of the process and no extra cards are issued along the way, resulting in a good way of keeping control of the status of the process as well as highlighting problem areas.

When the bin on the factory floor becomes empty, there is demand for parts, the empty bin and kanban cards are returned to the factory store. The factory store then replaces the bin on the factory floor with a full bin, which also contains a kanaban card. The factory store then contacts the supplier’s store and returns the now-empty bin with its kanban card. The supplier's inbound product bin with its kanaban card is then delivered into the factory store completing the final step to the system.

This extreme control of the process requires discipline and work effort in order to be carried out successfully on time. The close control of each part will result in a higher quality control of the product and stock of the required material without surplus. Reducing the amount of work to a defective product is another advantage when compared to the western model, in time and money.

*Two kinds of kanban (the production instruction kanban and the parts retrieval kanban) are used for managing parts.


With the evolution of technologies and production processes, the Kanaban as well has evolved. In present times the Kanaban has developed into the E-Kanaban, which makes the Kanaban process even more dynamic and has an impact in the increase of productivity.

3. Using JIT, Yaiichi Ohno revolutionized the production system at Toyota. However, some analyst pointed out that JIT had any drawbacks. Briefly explain the disadvantages of JIT. How can they be solved?

The JIT system has been proved to be very effective worldwide, but the reduce margin of errors and high responsibility put on workers is the main concern in between the analysts. In order to implement Jidoka (power given to each employee to cut the production line in case there is a problem), the worker needs to be prepared academically and leadership wise to make that decision, before he takes that big responsibility. The high dependence on suppliers is one of the weaknesses of the JIT model as well, diversity of suppliers is a must in the JIT system, but it still affects the production directly in a strong way.

Also, the JIT model has been proven to failed outside of most places abroad Japan, this is because of the lack of Japanese discipline and values, it needs to be expected that the results will be lower according to the culture where the model is being implemented. One of the most important disadvantages of the JIT system is the stress at work. All the Achilles' heels of the JIT system can be treated particularly. Stress can be fought by Kanaban and dividing the processes into units, the supplier dependence can be eliminated by having a high number of suppliers and getting employees involved with the system can be a solved through a motivational process using incentives and personal goals.