Worried "Just In Time" Manufacturing becomes "Too Late"?
The phrase “Just In Time Manufacturing” has been cropping up in the news and current affairs programs a lot recently – usually in connection with Brexit.
The stories of companies stocking up on everything from insulin to basic food ingredients such as olive oil and pepper seem to be everywhere. The genuine concerns of UK companies that “just in time” becomes “too late” because of clogged up supply chains has provided great internet clickbait and fodder for the ever-hungry great British press.
Taking a step back from some of the more sensationalist interpretations of the impact of Brexit on manufacturing supply chains, more sober heads might think that the imperative to trade will win out and that surprisingly quickly predictability will be restored into supply chains – they might be a little bit slower – but crucially they will be predictable.
I stress the importance of predictability, because it is at the heart of “Just In Time”. It’s knowing that I will receive these raw materials on this predictable date that allows me to save on inventory carry costs, emergency order costs and safeguards my production plan. Talking to UK manufacturers, for many of them the last point is crucial; the costs, both direct and indirect, of constantly re-visiting and re-working the production plan because of stock-outs or missed delivery dates can really impact the bottom-line.
Using the right IT systems can certainly help here:
- Systems that support the ability to capture and adapt planned timings of each stage of the supply chain - from the goods leaving suppliers factory, to arriving at port, shipping, clearing customs through to arrival at my site;
- Systems that can adjust to changes in these timings and can highlight exceptions real-time so I can fix them or adapt to them in good time;
- Systems which are good at collaborating with my suppliers and my customers IT systems so we are always on the same page.
If “Just In Time” is – and will continue to be – important to your business then I recommend you have a look at Absoft ADIMA - ERP for Manufacturing SMEs.
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