October 7, 2022

Just in time production and the connected worker

In the early 1970s, Japanese industrial engineer and businessman Taiichi Ohno was looking for a way to meet increasing consumer demand and improve the quality of Toyota’s products. What resulted was called Just-in-Time manufacturing or the just in time system, now a management philosophy and lean manufacturing methodology, which has taken the manufacturing world by storm! This inventory control system fit perfectly with the lean manufacturing philosophies of the Toyota Production system. The problem for modern day JIT is how to power it with better data.  In this article we will look at what is Just-in-Time manufacturing or JIT inventory management and how a modern Connected Worker platform can elevate it to the next level?

What is Just in Time Manufacturing?

In JIT Manufacturing, the focus is on reducing wastage of inventory and making the entire process of product creation more efficient. JIT is an inventory control system in which production and procurement are kept at the minimum required level based on customer demand.  This helps save labour and avoids waste of raw materials.

Just-in-Time Manufacturing is not a technique. Instead, it is a philosophy that requires a dedicated commitment of every individual in the organization to achieve success. Inventories of raw materials as well as finished products are kept  ‘as needed’ so that there is less strain on the manufacturing team and there is less possibility of creating products that won’t sell, expire, or become overstock taking up valuable real estate without meeting customer demand.

Benefits of Just-in-Time Manufacturing

Companies that incorporate JIT in their manufacturing process enjoy benefits such as:

  1. Cost-efficient production
  2. Continuous improvement in quality
  3. Elimination of inventory waste and unnecessary processes
  4. Improvement in overall productivity
  5. Better relationships with the supplier
  6. Efficient usage of available inventory space and industry management
  7. Inventory costs associated with storage are reduced
  8. Reduction in final manufacturing time
  9. Products come out defect-free
  10. Reduce work in progress
  11. Improved ability to meet customer demand

Keeping lower stock holdings helps companies cut down on labor and insurance costs, saves space in their warehouse and enables them to stay updated about sudden increases or decreases in customer demand.

The flow of information across the organization is vital for the JIT methodologies to be effective in the production process. In Industry 4.0, Connected Worker technologies help keep workers informed and leverage modern technologies for transferring data seamlessly across departments for improved project management.

How a Connected Worker Platform Enables Just-in-Time Manufacturing?

A Front Line Or Connected Worker Platform is a suite of modern digital tools that connect workers into their environment through the devices they naturally use in the flow of work like mobile phones, tablets, laptops and Smart Glasses. A Front Line Worker Platform provides front line workers with the digital support tools they need to train and quickly upskill, execute standardized work processes and connect to subject matter experts when the unforeseen occurs.

Here are a few benefits of Front Line Worker Platform for a JIT inventory system.

1. Data-driven Knowledge and Standardization of Processes

With a Connected Worker platform, every step of every process executed by a worker gets time-stamped. Managers and business leaders can track this information to stay on top of how much time it takes for every process step to be completed and for the entire process to be finished.This is highly useful when it comes to making processes more efficient and cutting unnecessary steps. This continuous real time measurement of each step also gives an idea of how much time a product takes to be made from start to finish so that manufacturers can predictably meet customer demands and maximize working capital. The wealth of front line worker data allows manufacturers to have data driven plans to meet customer demand and achieve JIT 4.0.

2. Continuous Improvement and Training

Connected Worker or Front Line Worker platforms are replacing traditional and paper-based training procedures. Workers are understanding training and upskilling more quickly due to the visual, contextually rich training.With digital workflows, remote assistance, and training resources available on their smartphones, inexperienced workers get up to speed more quickly and ensure that they are not acting as a roadblock in implementing Just In Time Production.

3. Reduced Changeover Times Through Job and Work Instruction Automation

A Connected Worker platform reduces changeover time by providing heavily standardized work instructions to help workers adhere to schedules.  Manufacturers can also put time consuming job and work instruction assignments on autopilot with Job Scheduling features to support production schedules. This reduces the slow cycles and small stops that prevent Just In Time production from functioning at peak performance.

4. Holistic Visibility and Enhanced Quality Inspection For Just In Time Production

Manufacturers and business leaders get holistic visibility on operations and access to high-quality accurate data easily with the help of a Connected Worker platform. They can not only track when the processes are completed but can also keep an eye on any delays, bottlenecks, or issues occurring during the steps.

This way  companies can enhance their inspection quality and make sure that there are no defects or problems in the final product. Increased standardization allows managers to keep an eye on the performance data of their frontline workers and determine whether they need any extra guidance or training support to implement jit manufacturing.

Atheer for JIT Manufacturing

Through Atheer’s Connected Worker Platform, manufacturers can see how different processes relate to each other and assess each step's contribution to the creation of the final product. Any unnecessary or non-value-adding steps can be eliminated and wasteful processes can be reduced to a minimum; in-sync with the core principle of Just-in-Time manufacturing. Atheer optimizes the human component of Just In Time Manufacturing with the tools they need to do their best work every time.

Atheer’s low code/ no-code platform makes it easier for businesses to implement digital transformation.

Atheer’s Connected Worker Platform is device agnostic, allowing leaders and frontline workers to access reports, learning materials, or remote assistance while on the go to improve your production process.

Atheer excels at extending your extended enterprise user experience across your supply chain and helps in bringing the final product to market without defects.

Do you want to see how Atheer’s Connected Worker Platform can help you with JIT implementation? Call us now to Request a free demo.

Micki Collart

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