Overcoming Difficulties in JIT Manufacturing

posted on: Friday May 15, 2015

xpresslargeManufacturers want to implement Just in Time (JIT) production, but it is difficult to master. In the end, all parts and labor have to be available while you build in order to push the product through the system. If they aren’t, you wind up starting and stopping processes, which produces nothing and adds to the total time to build a product. It is extremely frustrating to overhaul a process and make a huge change to increase productivity only to fall further behind.

Remember that the ultimate goal is to focus on a “rate of flow” of finished product leaving the cell. Whether that’s one unit every minute, hour, or shift, each cell has to accommodate the kind of work that needs to be accomplished to meet the rate of flow. Often times, this is a question of how to move parts in and out of the cells. Material has to be ready when needed and moved when completed.

Finding a solution can be tricky, especially when the size and weight of the product changes as it moves through production. The harder something is to move, the longer it takes to transport. Often time’s forklifts are used to move product and in a large facility, they may need to be scheduled in advance. These moves can add up to a lot of time in waiting which affects the entire process. For JIT, it can greatly throw off the rate of flow and get production people working inefficiently.

By nature JIT is a calculated schedule, and if not done correctly, it may not match the production floor reality. Production personnel feel tempted to push themselves or forgo safety guidelines in order to move production along and to get back on schedule. This poses a huge risk to worker safety as well as product integrity.

Material handling equipment that has helped numerous manufacturers with these issues is the battery-powered tug. Power tugs provide the muscle in pushing and pulling tasks. As a result, production personnel can effortlessly move equipment, parts, and production assemblies between cells or across the production floor. Forklift operators don’t need to be scheduled and forklifts don’t add to the safety risk with production workers. With a powered tug, product can be moved at the moment it needs to be moved to keep the rate of flow constant.

Powered tugs work seamlessly with the JIT model in several ways:

  • The compact design allows units to easily maneuver through tight spaces and around corners.
  • Only one person is needed to operate the equipment. This means an individual is capable of effortlessly moving hundreds to thousands of pounds without help.
  • Manufacturers like Load Mover Inc. design units for various draw-bar pull capabilities. Many companies find that using multiple units in the manufacturing facility optimizes the JIT concept.
  • Battery-powered tugs are much safer than lift trucks and other material handling equipment. There is optimal operator visibility and reduced risk of injury to other production workers.
  • Power tugs work seamlessly in traffic, both with people and equipment.

Overall, power tugs greatly increase the efficiency and success of the JIT model. To understand more about this solution, contact Load Mover Inc. We will assess your needs to fit you with the unit that will optimize your efficiency.  Contact us at 952-767-1720 or info@loadmoverinc.com.