Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Calcables Spin on Just-In-Time (JIT) Manufacturing

Buzz words like JIT or Just-In-Time Manufacturing is the process directed at eliminating additional inventory by producing/ordering only the right amount of product needed at the right time.  Why?  Inventory that sits on a shelf adds cost with no value to the product.

Therefore, minimizing the non-value products or inventory that is not moving off of the production line is the goal to implementing JIT.  The result?  Supposedly, better on time delivery performance, better equipment use, less space requirements (for stocking inventory), lower costs, greater profits.

Is it always true?  Holding a certain amount of inventory in-house can certainly be of benefit in certain situations. Our economy is difficult to forecast (unless you have a crystal ball).  Not implementing essential planning can result in a higher cost to obtain desired materials with extra costs on expedited shipping or the cost passed on from a supplier to stop their production and expedite a product for an urgent need (if they provide this service).

In case you didn't know, JIT was founded, perfected and developed by a gentleman named Taiichi Ohno of Toyota.  He developed this philosophy to meet customer demands with minimal delays and primarily to produce goods so customer orders were met exactly when they needed the products.

Manufacturers employ various philosophies when it comes to managing their business effectively, JIT is just one of those.  We have all heard of "Lean Sigma", Kanban, Kaizen.   JIT which is also called "lean production" or "stockless production" is felt to be successful in reducing inventory levels to absolute minimum.  This, in itself, requires excellent coordination and communication between work stations.  Production flows are often set up so assembly lines are smooth and unimpeded eliminating bottle necks in production and is most applicable in automotive assembly "where every car undergoes the same production process as the one before."
Guidelines to Successfully Utilize JIT:

Calcables offers solutions to automotive assembly lines utilizing JIT as well as other similar production lines.  Semiconductor companies such as Calcables are too complex to completely utilize JIT; however, we offer solutions to the problems incurred by JIT philosophy:

1)  Encourage good preventative maintenance on all equipment utilized on production lines.  Scheduled maintenance provides regular review of semiconductor needs, and review of adequate semiconductors in stock.

2)    Consignment Implementation - Outsourcing the regular review of semiconductors/power leads utilized by the supplier lessens the burden of maintenance/purchasing with alerted messages (email or mobile) when inventory runs low.

3)     Cross train personnel to gain a flexible, educated and empowered workforce.

Successfully utilizing Just-In-Time philosophy (or Kanban, etc) is effective, efficient and economical; however, avoiding the pitfalls of JIT will keep this philosophy successful.  Calcables recommends  a few guidelines to ensure its success and avoiding the pitfalls of needing to order supplies such as semiconductors/power leads for unexpected down production lines which translates into huge unexpected costs/losses financially.  These extra costs include expedited shipping costs with freight (particularly around the holidays), costs associated with same day delivery (Calcables will swing into action to provide same day shipping of power leads; however, there are expedited costs in pulling off of our regular lines), as well as production team members unable to continue their assembly lines, not meeting production goals, etc.  The costs trickle down into a large lump sum of loss.  Thoughtful planning and coordination with your welding cable partner will provide cost effective solutions keeping your production lines up and running effectively.

Cheryl Benson, Calcables CEO, has solutions for your business - Power leads for robotics, robotic welders, spot welders, resistance welders..we specialize in welding cable solutions.


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