Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

Course 6 – The Lean / Just-in-Time Concept and Repetitive Manufacturing

Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on lean / just-in-time and repetitive manufacturing. Explain the lean / just-in-time concept in detail. Describe the Kanban technique. Identify the cumulative production figures principle. Disclose an implementing procedure and a comparison of techniques.


In the 1970s, the seller’s market changed to a buyer’s market in many branches of the capital goods market. As a consequence, the weighting of entrepreneurial objectives (see Section 1.3.1) changed from stressing best possible capacity utilization to a focus on short delivery lead times. At the same time, however, companies had to avoid physical inventory. Inventory proved to be increasingly risky, because technological advances turned goods into nonsellers often overnight. Thus, short lead time became a strategy toward success in entrepreneurial competition.

To handle all of these aspects, concepts were developed — mainly in Japan — and grouped together under the term just-in-time, or JIT (pronounced as one word). More recently, the contents of JIT were re-launched under the new catchphrase “lean.” Lean/JIT aims towards the fastest possible flow of goods while reducing overburdening, unevenness, and useless effort, or waste.

The lean / just-in-time concept has advantages for all other concepts and all characteristics of planning & control in Section 4.5.3. For this reason, we will give the methods associated with the just-in-time philosophy preferential treatment. The well-known and simple production and purchase control technique in this connection is the Kanban technique. Kanban, however, takes care of only short-term planning & control and can be used only in production or procurement with frequent order repetition — that is, in the manufacture of standard products, if need be with a few variants.

The Lean/JIT concept is not only an aid but is indeed a prerequisite for efficient use of all simple planning & control techniques in logistics. Figure 6.0.0.1 shows some of the characteristic features of planning & control, taken from Section 4.4. The values of the features as arranged from left to right correspond to an increasing degree of the suitability for simple techniques of planning & control in supply chains. On the table showing the most important features, the characteristic value is marked with a black background.

Fig. 6.0.0.1         Degree of suitability for the simple techniques of planning & control.[note 601]

Simple techniques of planning & control are therefore particularly well-suited for manufacture of standard products, if need be with a few variants, and thus for repetitive manufacturing. As Kanban and the cumulative production figures principle are probably the most easily understood control techniques, they are discussed here in Part B. More­over, the two techniques are techniques for short-term planning of materials, schedules, and capacity, whereby capacity must adapt to load. For long-term planning in these cases, methods appropriate to the MRPII concept (see Section 5.2) are used. If medium-term planning is necessary at all, methods will correspond to simple techniques of long-term planning.



Course sections and their intended learning outcomes

  • Course 6 – The Lean / Just-in-Time Concept and Repetitive Manufacturing

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on lean / just-in-time and repetitive manufacturing. Explain the lean / just-in-time concept in detail. Describe the Kanban technique. Identify the cumulative production figures principle. Disclose an implementing procedure and a comparison of techniques.

  • 6.1 Characterizing Lean / Just-in-Time and Repetitive Manufacturing

    Intended learning outcomes: Explain Just-in-Time and Jidoka: Increasing productivity through reduction of overburdening, unevenness, and useless effort, or waste. Describe characteristic features for simple and effective planning & control techniques of repetitive manufacturing.

  • 6.2 The Lean Concept / Just-in-Time Concept

    Intended learning outcomes: Explain lead time reduction through setup time reduction and batch size reduction as well as further concepts. Describe line balancing through harmonizing the content of work. Disclose Just-in-Time Logistics. Present generally valid advantages of the lean / Just-in-Time concept for materials management and for capacity management.

  • 6.3 The Kanban Technique

    Intended learning outcomes: Explain Kanban as a technique of execution and control of operations as well as a technique of materials management. Disclose the adequate long- and medium-term planning for Kanban.

  • 6.8 Scenarios and Exercises

    Intended learning outcomes: Operation time versus operation cost: disclose the effect of varying setup time and batch size. Calculate the effect of cellular manufacturing on lead-time reduction. Perform line balancing through harmonizing the content of work. Determine the number of Kanban cards.

  • 6.9 References

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  • Case [Course 6]

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