Date of Award
Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)
Colby College. Economics Dept.
Reich, Leonard S.
This paper addresses the feasibility of implementing Japanese manufacturing systems in the United States. The recent success of Japanese transplant companies suggests that Just-In-Time (JIT) production is possible within America's industrial environment. Once American workers receive proper training, they have little difficulty participating in rapid setup procedures and utilizing the kanban system. Japanese transplants are gradually developing Japanese-style relationships with their American supplier companies by initiating long-term, mutually beneficial agreements. They are also finding ways to cope with America's problem of distance, which is steadily decreasing as an obstacle to JIT delivery. American companies, however, encounter Significant problems in trying to convert traditionally organized, factories to the JIT system. This paper demonstrates that it is both feasible and beneficial for American manufacturers to implement JIT production techniques. Many of the difficulties manufacturers experience center around a general lack of information about JIT. Once a company realizes its potential for setup-time reduction, a prerequisite for the JIT system, workers and managers can work together to create a new process for handling equipment changeover. Significant results are possible with minimal investment. Also, supervisors often do not realize that the JIT method of ordering goods from suppliers is compatible with current systems. This "kanban system" not only enhances current systems but also reduces the amount of paperwork and scheduling involved. When arranging JlT delivery of supplier goods, American manufacturers tend to overlook important aspects of JIT supplier management. However, by making long-tenn commitments, initiating the open exchange of information, assisting suppliers in reaching new standards of performance, increasing the level of conununication, and relying more on suppliers' engineering capabilities, even American manufacturers can develop Japanese-style supplier relationships that enhance the effectiveness of the system.
Just-in-time systems, Production engineering
Recommended CitationLacharite, Magda, "Bringing Japanese manufacturing systems to America: the feasibility of implementing just-in-time production in the United States" (1991). Senior Scholar Papers. Paper 149.
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