The Difference between Lean Manufacturing and Just-In-Time Manufacturing


The Difference between Lean Manufacturing and Just-In-Time Manufacturing

a car being manufactured

A wide range of production strategies is available to producers when it comes to making goods. Lean Manufacturing and Just-in-Time Manufacturing are arguably the most widely used manufacturing practices. Although they are frequently regarded as synonyms, the two terms are very different.

Just-in-time manufacturing focuses on efficiency, whereas lean manufacturing focuses on leveraging efficiency to create value for the consumer. Just-in-time manufacturing could be used as a stand-alone technique or an integral part of a more comprehensive lean manufacturing strategy. On that note, let's take a deeper look to understand how Lean Manufacturing and Just-in-Time manufacturing are different from each other.

Just-In-Time Manufacturing

Around 50 years ago, Toyota introduced the JIT idea as a solution to an effort to minimize inventory and cut operating expenses. The purpose of the JIT approach is to reduce costs and lag times by evaluating each stage of the production process. A smaller number of orders, placed more often, were more cost-effective than stockpiling huge quantities of parts for emergency use.

The optimum flow of the approach would be for components to deliver "Just In Time" for use, substantially reducing the volume of goods in the pipeline and thus cutting total carrying costs. Toyota reduced order lead times by a third and production expenses by half by implementing JIT.

However, JIT's triumph did not stop there. There have been so many instances where the approach has worked well that it has now become a manufacturing standard.

Lean Manufacturing

When it comes to lean manufacturing, the focus shifts from product to customers. Focusing only on minimizing the cost of doing business changes to focusing on the customer's wants and needs; thus, every stage of a process is assessed to improve the customer's overall satisfaction.

In contrast to just-in-time (JIT) production, Lean manufacturing employs non-production personnel such as sales and customer service representatives. JIT is primarily aimed at the people who are deeply associated with the manufacturing process, such as production floor workers and those responsible for transferring products up and down the supply chain.

Bottom Line

Another distinction between lean manufacturing and just-in-time manufacturing is the way each approaches the production process. JIT was created for procedures that produced a single item with minor deviations.  As a result, manufacturing procedures and staff skill sets are more rigorous than they otherwise would be.

Lean emphasizes the manufacturing of larger or smaller quantities, depending on the changing market needs, allowing for greater flexibility. As a result, manufacturing equipment must be adaptable enough so that corporations don't have to invest in customized gadgets for each new product they intend to introduce.

JIT is a good fit for customers willing to pay the lowest price possible. However, in some cases, buyers prefer more durable products. In lean manufacturing, suppliers review their manufacturing techniques to find ways to extend the product's lifespan. Using a more expensive, longer-lasting component is one example of how they go above and beyond their customers' expectations.

 a manufacturing plant

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