Did the Covid-19 pandemic kill Just-in-Time (JIT)?



Some say yes, to be replaced with something called Just-in-Case (JIC)

There’s an increasing sense among manufacturers that the shortage of raw materials, components, and assemblies experienced during the pandemic was a result of years-long efforts to streamline supply chains for JIT manufacturing and increase efficiency [article here (may see paywall) and here*].


Examples:

  • The inability to secure or build enough ventilators early on in the pandemic

  • Lack of parts for virus testing kits (special swabs, etc.)

  • Not enough vaccine production capacity (still an issue in Europe)

  • Recent shortage of semiconductor chips in the auto industry


As a ‘lessons learned’, many companies are expected to stockpile supplies to prevent a similar occurrence in the near future. Is this a case of organizations trying to fight the last battle but eventually returning to JIT? Or did the pandemic really usher in a new paradigm in JIC manufacturing? Did companies ever really embrace JIT in the first place?

What do you think?


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* Thanks to Jorge Rivera for letting me know about this article.

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