Mark Gavoor, managing partner of Cadent Resources Group LLC, ponders the question "Whatever happened to JIT?"

Just-in-time was all the rage 20 years ago. People were synchronizing their production plans with those of their suppliers, and reducing lead times in order to minimize inventory and maximize flexibility and responsiveness.

So, what happened? JIT was a continuous improvement process. Lead times were tightened and inventory lowered until the dominant constraint became evident. Process improvement techniques were then applied to eliminate or minimize the constraint. The lead times and inventories were reduced again until the next dominant constraint was evident. The process was repeated over and over again. The goal was to constantly improve the physics of the supply chain. This was the theory at least.

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