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Just-in-Time: Just a Little Too Far?

For many machining facilities, business has picked up suddenly and dramatically—and that’s OK!

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For many machining facilities, business has picked up suddenly and dramatically—and that’s OK! Shops can handle the surge. Even when the increase comes quickly, shops can generally run extra hours and bring older equipment into play.

But it’s a different story for the facilities that make raw material. A steel mill ramps up more slowly. The result right now is wait times for steel, as this article describes. And with JIT, that wait spreads all along the supply chain.

Have supply chains now become too lean? Having a little extra inventory at each supplier in the chain this year would have provided for surge capacity. Perhaps 2010 has taught a lesson about lean. Or, maybe the benefits of lean are so valuable that even this year’s delays are a price worth paying.

What do you think? I’d appreciate your perspective—e-mail me here.