The key characteristics of an engineering production system are high quality, low cost, and short production time. JIT is directed at minimising transitional inventory, typically by use of a card (kanban) control system. Doing so reduces waste by potentially (a) reducing cashflow tied up in transitional inventory, (b) reducing space required for storage of intermediate and finished product, and (c) reducing the likelihood of accumulation of finished but obsolete final product. Similarly, lean manufacturing focuses on reduction of waste of all types (design time, production time, production resources, etc.) in the pursuit of providing value to customers, and thus includes JIT as a core concept.
This programme has several subsidiary research projects. Outputs to date include practical and academic reports on implementation of JIT. Current work streams include opportunities for manufacturing firms, production organisations generally, and students (postgraduate and internship). We are specifically interested in establishing partnerships with a select few firms where we can conduct detailed internal assessment of JIT/lean practices for research purposes. Candidate firms include those who have already implemented JIT/lean, as well as those who are only thinking about doing so. We want to find out what makes for successful implementation of JIT/lean in the NZ context.