A Post-Covid Model for JIT Success


Supply chains, especially those that employ Lean and Just in Time (L/JIT), must improve in light of the many failures suffered throughout the Covid-19 pandemic that we are still facing today. In the past, the popularity of L/JIT systems helped those that use them become extremely successful in improving corporate bottom lines and attaining operational excellence. However, success has mostly been on an individual downstream firm level as often upstream moves to JIT are extremely difficult as firm size decreases. Therefore, added costs end up being pushed upstream resulting in no cost-savings overall, just a pushing of inefficiencies upstream. This runs counter to the current literature of the subject stressing supply chain-wide savings and creating win-win situations for all parties involved. A literature review was conducted researching L/JIT methods, and observations were made on the performance of supply chains of essential goods pre- and post-Covid-19. It was determined that although L/JIT has been successful in the past, many recent black swan supply chain disturbances have tested its limits and traditional methods have failed to provide essential goods to the public in a timely fashion. Although traditional methods are adequate to operate when market conditions run smoothly, this is not the case when highly unlikely occurrences present themselves. A five-factor VECIS model of JIT has been developed, listing main impediments to JIT as well as identification of factors vital for supply chain performance improvements that can better equip supply chains in the future to cope with unexpected events. The VECIS factors that strengthen JIT relationships are identified as visibility, ethicality, collaboration, integration, and synchronization, while the major impediments can be classified as political, environmental, distance, social, economic, location, healthy, and labor. Strengthening supply chains in the future is essential in maintaining the proper functioning of society. This is imperative to ensure the greater public can be supplied with essential life-saving goods in times of need. It is time for firms to assess the trade-offs of operational efficiency in the short-term with the possible negative implications that highly unlikely but devastating disturbances can inflict on not only their bottom-lines but the well-being of our greater society.

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