Just-in-time lets you go from a “make to sell” to a “sell then make” process model. If a manufacturing business has predictable orders, it minimizes input levels by only provisioning what’s needed for sales and production when they’re needed. Just-in-time reduces the inefficiency and cost of holding large amounts of inventory.
It’s a way of forecasting material usage, inventory, and productivity that changed many practices associated with traditional manufacturing that resulted in wasted resources.
The JIT process can also reveal motion waste, which is excessive movement of workers or inventory on the factory floor, or reduce transport waste by stacking outgoing orders instead of maintaining transport fleets in constant cycles with half-full trucks.
Just-in-time manufacturing differs somewhat from lean manufacturing. Although both methodologies prioritize eliminating waste and improving efficiency, lean manufacturing focuses on practices across the entire business, incorporating everything from marketing and customer-service performance to aftermarket customer relationship management.
Just-in-time production, on the other hand, focuses on the process of manufacturing itself. It often includes connected elements, like partners and workers on the factory floor, but is mainly concerned with making products efficiently.