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Discuss your thoughts about just-in-time materials management, its value, shortcomings, and provide an example of where it may be implemented. Below is a brief discussion of JIT vs. MRP. Two approaches have had a major impact on inventory management: Material Requirements Planning (MRP) and Just-In-Time (JIT and Kanban). Their application is primarily within manufacturing but suppliers might find new requirements placed on them and sometimes buyers of manufactured items will experience a difference in delivery. Material requirements planning is basically an information system in which sales are converted directly into loads on the facility by sub-unit and time period. Materials are scheduled more closely, thereby reducing inventories, and delivery times become shorter and more predictable. Its primary use is with products composed of many components. MRP systems are practical for smaller firms. The computer system is only one part of the total project which is usually long-term, taking one to three years to develop. Just-in-time inventory management is an approach which works to eliminate inventories rather than optimize them. The inventory of raw materials and work-in-process falls to that needed in a single day. This is accomplished by reducing set-up times and lead times so that small lots may be ordered. Suppliers may have to make several deliveries a day or move close to the user plants to support this plan. Different goals of MRP and JIT mean that each system works better under certain conditions. MRP is well-suited to a production line that operates on a batch or special order basis. The system's ability to constantly adjust for changing requirements makes it react well to variable orders. The JIT system works well in an environment of repetitive orders of similar products. Suppliers can more easily respond to prompt delivery schedules for routine orders of similar materials.
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