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Just-in-Time Production Method: Toyota Company’ Case

What is JIT?

The JIT commonly refers to the just-in-time method of production. The major area of its implementation is the Japanese car manufacturing. It is a holistic system of managing the process of production. The major objective of this manufacturing method is an attempt to reduce production waste and make as little by-products as possible. For the first time, the system was developed by an engineer Taiichi Ohno and was introduced at the Toyota production on a daily basis.

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The idea was holistically simple since the manufacturers considered that with a large number of suppliers of smaller parts for one mechanism, there would be a possibility to reduce the waste. Particularly, each next step of the production would only start when the previous step is finished. Each detail would only be developed when all the details of the previous stage were ready (Womack, Jones, & Roos, 1990). The concept was reflected in the production method’s name. Every stage of production finishes just in time for the next one to begin. The idea was difficult in implementation because it had a major danger of impeding the entire manufacture. In other words, if any of the stages failed the whole process would stop.

What is JIT philosophy?

The philosophy of the JIT principle relies on the assumption that the production with solely the inventory required for a certain stage is more effective. The major principle is to waste neither materials and supplies nor the time. The process of production should be structured and divided into orderly stages, without any chaos or unnecessary waste (Lean Manufacturing and Just-in-Time Production, 2016). Apart from that, each stage of the manufacturing relies on the previous one, which makes each step of the work more significant both for the managers who administer the process and for the employees who attribute more importance to their work. It encourages responsibility and effective time management on all the levels of the production process, as well as uses the human factor as an advantage of the production.

What did Toyota do to overcome the problems the fire caused?

Due to the recently discovered technical problems, Toyota recalled nearly 6.5 million of its vehicles worldwide. The nature of the problem concerned the majority of the vehicles produced between 2005 and 2010. Particularly, the problem was the potential fire danger because of the inflammability of the power windows and their switches. As a result, the company experienced some major financial losses.

Moreover, it influenced immensely the company’s reputation since it had already had similar recalls in 2009 and 2010. Therefore, Toyota decided with a new motto “Moving Forward” to regain its place on the market as a manufacturer of safe and reliable vehicles and to put to rest the previous incidents (Kelly, 2012). They launched a different marketing strategy but did not give up on their main principles.

What does this experience tell you about just-in-time? That is, what lessons could be learned from the experience?

Although just-in-time has a perfect justification from the theoretical point of view, in practice it is linked to a number of risks. Firstly, an error at a single stage of production can result in the invalidity of the entire process. That factor is hazardous both for the major manufacturers with a large number of produced items and for the starting businesses who are more likely to make some mistakes. The second danger of difficult implementation and the extremely high standards of discipline and quality that are hard to sustain.


Kelly, A. (2012). Has Toyota’s Image Recovered From The Brand’s Recall Crisis? Forbes. Web.

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Lean Manufacturing and Just-in-Time Production – organization, levels, system, advantages, model, type, company, competitiveness, system. (2016). Web.

Womack, J. P., Jones, D. T., & Roos, D. (1990). A machine that changed the world. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. Web.

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