I predicted it on Wednesday, that the Japan earthquake, which led to production shutdowns at Toyota, Nissan, and others, would be quickly followed by an article that blames that risky Just-In-Time strategy. Well, it only took two days for the WSJ. Either that's “Just-In-Time” writing, or they keep articles like that ready to go in the warehouse! The WSJ article says:
“For want of a piston ring costing $1.50, nearly 70% of Japan's auto production has been temporarily paralyzed this week.
Blame it on kanban, the just-in-time philosophy of keeping as little inventory on hand as possible. The strategy keeps inventory costs down and ensures quality. It generally works because Japan's auto makers have long prided themselves on the almost familial relationships they have with a handful of suppliers of custom parts that deliver several times a week or even daily.
The strategy also has a downside, as became evident after the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that hit central Japan on Monday…”
I'll come back later and add some of my thoughts, but wanted to share the articles for you to read and comment on…
There is also a free article with similar themes here.
The Journal wrings its hands about JIT and risk about once a year. Others pick up on this tired theme, which I blogged about here in response to an article in The Manufacturer.
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