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Development…………………………………………………………….. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
1.     Process Design …………………………………………………………………… .…4
2.      Supply Chain Management …………… ……………………………………………9
3.      Inventory Control  … ………………………………………………………………13
4.      Just-in-Time (JIT)   …………………………………………………………………17
Conclusions ………………………………………………………………………………19
References   ………………………………………………………………………………21

How to manage process design, and supply chain and inventory systems


Operations management, or production management, deals with the production of goods and services. Every day we come in contact with an abundant array of goods and services, all of which are produced under the supervision of operations managers. Without the effective management of operations, a modern industrialized society can not exist. This is really true as Mike Parks (1999) emphasized that operations is the engine that creates wealth for the firm and underpins the global economy. Hence, operations managers have important responsibilities in both service industries and manufacturing companies. Wealth is created in the global economy through excellent operations management. Wealth creation occurs when the value of outputs in goods and services exceeds the cost of inputs used. Wealth can only be created by manufacturing and service operations that add more value than the costs of inputs they use. Raising productivity of operations, the ratio of output to input, is therefore the primary basis for creating wealth. In the global economy, a company and a country can not prosper in a long run unless they have higher productivity than their domestic and foreign competitors. Operations should lead the way in enhancing ability to create wealth, improve productivity, and raise the standard of living for all people. Hence, the task of the operations managers in particular and the top management of one company in general is one of the wealth creators. How can operations managers do to obtain such aforesaid objectives? Which approaches can be used to manage operations activities effectively? And how can operations managers plan and control the production system and its interfaces with the company and with the external environment?
In reality, operations management becomes one of the most important tasks that consist of a great deal of stages. As Swenson, Deborah L. (2005) stated that one of the more fundamental decisions in this process involves firm choices regarding production techniques. These stages include, but not limited to operations strategy, product design, process design, choice of technology, quality management, supply chain management, forecasting, facilities and aggregate planning, scheduling operations, and inventory control and management. Due to time constraints, however, this paper will focus on three major aspects of operations management. First, it deals with major steps of process design, then it focuses on how to manage a supply chain system, and last but not least it highlights the inventory management in which independent-demand inventory, materials requirements planning, and just-in-time system will be carefully treated.

When operating in global markets, a traditional company is at a competitive disadvantage. The scale of operations is wrong, products may be inadequate, and the company is organized in the wrong way to produce and market its products. As a result, the global companies have emerged with the following characteristics. (1) Facilities and plants are located on a worldwide basis. (2) Products and services can be shifted back and forth between countries. (3) Components, parts, and services are sourced on a global basis. Hence, global product design and process technology need to be used; demand for products is considered worldwide, not a local, basis; the economies of scale are greatly magnified, and costs can be lower; and logistics and inventory control systems are also global basis. For such above reasons, among the most important decisions made by operations managers are those involving the design and improvement of the process for producing goods and services. These decisions include choice of process and technology, analysis of flows through operations, and the associated job design in operations.
One of the major themes in the process design is process selection. As Eyal Winter (2001) added that there are a variety of processes that can be selected and the corresponding situations where one process or another is preferred. Here, the paper suggests two main types of process include: (1) product flow, consisting of line, batch, and project flows; and (2) customer order: whether the product is made-to-order or made-to-stock. Depending on practical situations, operations managers can select a suitable type, or a combination of two. Here are the basic characteristics of these types. In term of product flow, line flow is characterized by a linear sequence of operations. The product moves from one step to the next in a sequential manner from beginning to the end. Products made by line flow include automobiles, refrigerators, computers, printers, and a vast array of mass-produced consumer products. Mass production and continuous flow are other terms used to describe line flows. Line operation requires high-volume products that are standardized. At the same time, this makes it difficult to change in the product itself or the volume of flow leading to inflexibility of operations. Line operations can only be justified in certain situations. They generally require large amount of capital investment and must have high volume to justify the investment. Meanwhile, batch flow is characterized by production of the product in batches or lots. Each batch of the product flows from one operation or work center to another. A work center is a group of similar machines or processes used to make the product. Batch operations often use general-purpose-equipment that is not specialized to make just one particular product. This offers equipment flexibility. Labor is also highly skilled and flexible in its ability to make different products. As a result, a batch operation is configured with both equipment and labor to be more flexible than a line process. Lot sizes can be quite small, down to as little as one unit. As a result, batch processes can be configured to handle low volume orders. The jumbled flow of a batch operation results in considerable production scheduling and inventory problems. When loaded to near full capacity, the batch operation will typically have high inventories, as jobs wait in line to be processed. High capacity utilization results in jobs interference between the various jobs, as they wait for labor or equipment that is assigned to another job at the time. This results in a loss of efficiency of a batch operation. One way to measure the efficiency of a batch production is by a ratio called the “throughput ratio (TR)”
Total processing time for the job
TR =  ----------------------------------------  x 100%
Total time in operations

Most batch operations have TRs of 10% or 20%, rarely higher than 40%. This means that a typical job spends most of its time waiting to be processed relative to the actual processing time. In contrast, line flow operations have TRs of 90% to 100%. Batch operations are sometimes called “job shops”. Job shops typically make products only to customer order in batches using a process layout. A job shop may also design the product for the specific customer. Batch operations can be justified when the volume is low or there are many different products. In this case, the batch operation is the most economical and incurs the least risk. Examples of products made in batch operations are furniture, boats, dishware, and other products with large variety and low volume. Another process characteristic needs to be highlighted is “project”. Examples of projects are concerts, construction of buildings, and product of large aircraft. But bearing in mind that projects are characterized by difficult planning and scheduling problems since product have not been made before. Also, projects are difficult to automate and labor must be highly skilled because of the unique nature of the product or service being made. The table below will summarize the product flow characteristics:







Order type
Flow of product
Product variety
Market type


Continuous/large batch




Single unit
Very high
Single unit


Task type










Special purpose


General purpose


General purpose




On time


On time


On time


Control & Planning
Production control
Inventory control







Another critical process choice is whether the product is “made-to-order or made-to-stock”. Depends on each practical situation operations managers need to consider prior to decision making. However, here are several characteristics of such two types: (1) make-to-stock (MTS) process can provide faster service to customers from available stock and lower costs than a make-to-order (MTO) process. But the MTO process has higher flexibility for product customization. In the MTO process, individual orders can be identified during production. As each order is made to the customer specification, the jobs in process are actually associated with customers. In contrast, the MTS process is building products for inventory, and the jobs in process are not identified for any particular customer. Thus, operations managers need to identify a MTO or MTS process by simply looking at the jobs in production. Said differently, the MTS process is keyed to replenishment of inventory with order fulfillment from inventory, while the MTO process is keyed to customer orders. The table 1.2 below will summarize attributes of two processes:





Low variety

High variety




Balance inventory, capacity, and service


Manage delivery lead times and capacity


Main operations problems


Planning production
Control of inventory


Delivery promises
Delivery time

After having considered each type of process, operations managers need to make decisions on which process to be selected. To select a process or processes consistent to the practical situations of one company, operations managers should consider six major factors as follows:

  1. Market conditions
  2. Capital requirements
  3. Labor
  4. Management skills
  5. Raw materials
  6. Technology

Furthermore, operations managers also need to consider the “mass customization”. Mass customization depends on “economies of scope”, that is, a high variety of products from a single process. Mass customization includes four forms: (1) mass-customized services, (2) modular production & assemble-to-order (ATO), (3) fast changeover, and (4) postponement of options. Simultaneously, the choice of technology should consider only the net present value, but also the effects on customers, employees, and the environment. A cross-functional strategy is needed to ensure that technological choices are integrated over time and help the firm achieve a competitive advantage.
Another step toward the success of operations management is the process-flow analysis. Operations manager must carefully analyze not only the flowchart, but also materials flow and information flow. In improving the effectiveness or efficiency of productive processes, some or all following process elements might be changed: (1) raw materials, (2) product design, (3) job design, (4) processing steps used, (5) management control information, (6) equipment or tools, and (7) suppliers. Bearing in mind that process analysis can have a wide effect on all parts of the company. To analyze this process flow, a relevant system is selected, and the customers, outputs, inputs, suppliers, boundaries, and transformations are described. To analyze a process flowchart, operations managers need to consider the following steps:

  1. Select a relevant productive process for study
  2. Form a team, or designate an individual, to analyze and improve the system
  3. Decide on objectives of the analysis to improve efficiency, throughput time, effectiveness, capacity, or work morale
  4. Define the customers and suppliers for the system
  5. Describe the existing transformation process by means of flowchart and efficiency measurements
  6. Develop an improved process design by revising the process flows or inputs used
  7. Gain management approval for the revised process design
  8. Implement the new process design

In addition, materials flow analysis is very important to be considered since it has come into vogue through emphasis on reducing manufacturing throughput time, the total time to order, manufacture, and distribute a product from beginning to the end. This is done by seeking to reduce waste in the process. This done in manufacturing through four principal types of documents: assembly drawings, assembly charts, routing sheets, and flow-process chart. An assembly drawing is used to specify how the parts in a manufactured item should be assembled. An assembly chart is used to show the exact sequence of operations in assembling a product. A routing sheet is in more detailed than an assembly chart since it shows the operations and routing required for an individual part. Each machine or labor operation is listed, along with the tools and equipment needed. A flow-process chart is a key tool for improving the flow of materials. In term of drawing flow-process charts, the tips for operations managers are to ask the following questions:



What does the customer need? What operations are really necessary?



Who is performing each operation? Who are the suppliers?



Where is each operation conducted?



When is each operation performed?



How is the operation done?

Another important analysis needs to be considered by operations managers is information flows. There are two types of information flows. In the first, information is the product of the operation which emphasizes on the designing flows with the awareness of customers contact points and moments of truth. In the second, the information flow is used for management and control purposes. The purpose of information flow analysis is the same as for the analysis of materials flow: to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. However, it sometimes seen as different from the analysis of the materials flow. Bearing in mind that much attention needs to be given to the human element in process-flow analysis – not only in designing the new system but also in gaining the acceptance for changes. The best way to accomplish this is to involve the persons affected in every stage of diagnosis and design. This tends to encourage individual ownership of the new system and therefore to reduce fears associated with change.

Another important dimension that draws much attention of global companies nowadays is supply chain management. Supply chain management can be viewed as an essential aspect of business today, and there has been a great deal of interest recently in industry and academia. Why are people so interested in the supply chain management? There are several reasons for this interest. First, the total time for materials to travel through the entire supply chain can be six months to a year or more. Since materials spend so much time waiting in inventory, there is a great opportunity to reduce the total supply chain cycle time, leading to a corresponding reduction in inventory, increased flexibility, reduced costs, and better deliveries. And supply chain is an application of systems thinking and provides a basis for understanding processes that cut across the company’s internal departments and processes that extend outside the company as well. How can it be done in an effective manner? In helping companies clarify this issue, first the paper will mention about the coordination in the supply chain, and then highlight several steps used to measure its performance.
Supply chain management is the planning, design, and control of the flow of information and materials along the supply chain in order to meet customer requirements in an efficient manner, now and in the future. To master this definition, companies should form a partnership of retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers to implement an efficient consumer response (ECR) program. The basic elements of this program are aimed at managing both demand and the supply chain. To make improvements, it is important to increase coordination both across companies and within a company. The typical company is organized into functional silos. These separate departments manage different aspects of the supply chain. For instance, purchasing and procurement department takes care of the suppliers and raw materials inventory; operations takes care of manufacturing and work-in-process inventory; and marketing department takes care of demand and finished-goods inventory. When these departments lack coordination, there are dramatic effects on the supply chain within the company as well as outside the company. There are also several ways to increase coordination, including cross-functional teams, partnerships with customers and suppliers, better information systems, a flatter organizational structure, and so on. Each of these mechanisms serves to get people work together toward overall system goals rather than narrowly defined individual or departmental goals. Try to make this occur and improvements in the supply chain will result. There is also a close parallel between supply chains and quality improvement. Quality improvement requires coordination across organizational boundaries and recognition of systems interactions. Hence, companies should combine quality improvement across the supply chain along with their cost and time improvement efforts. To make sure the improvement, measuring supply chain performance must be conducted. There are generally four measures of supply chain performance, which compare closely to the cost, flexibility, quality, and delivery measures for operations.
The first measure involves delivery or on-time-delivery: that means the percentage of orders delivered complete and on the date requested by the customer. Note that orders are not counted as delivered on time when only part of the order is filled or when the customer does not get the delivery on the requested date. It measures performance in getting the entire order to the customer when he or she wanted it.
Next, a direct measure of quality is customer satisfaction, which can be measured in several ways. First, it can be measured relative to what the customer expected. For example, a company can ask its customers, how well did we do in meeting your expectation? Or ask its customers further questions as follows: (1) how satisfied are you with overall product experiences? (2) How strongly would you recommend our product to a friend for purchase? (3) How likely is it that you would purchase our product again in the future when needed? And another measure closely related to quality is customer loyalty. This can be measured by the percentage of customers who are still purchasing the product after having purchased it at least once. Companies should compare both loyalty and customer satisfaction to that of their competitors.
The third measure is time. The total replenishment time can be computed directly from inventory levels. If we assume there is a constant usage rate from the inventory, then the time in inventory just the level of inventory divided by the usage rate. The time spent in inventory should be computed for each part of for the supply chain and added to get the total replenishment lead time. It is important to also consider the time it takes to get paid for the product once it is sold. It is not enough to reduce inventories; the company must also get the cash from sales so that it can use money to make and sell more products. A measure of this time is the number of days in accounts receivable. Accounts receivable in days can also be added along the entire supply chain as a measure of a payment time. The number of days in inventory plus the number of days in accounts receivable equals the total business cycle time to make the product and get money.
So, Business cycle = days in inventory + days in accounts receivable
Cost is the last and most important measure needs to be considered. There are two ways to measure cost. First, a company can measure Total Delivered Cost, including manufacturing, distribution, inventory carrying costs, and accounts receivable carrying costs. The second way to measure cost along the supply chain is to measure efficiency in value added or productivity.

Sales – cost of materials

Efficiency  =   -----------------------------
                                    Labor + overhead

This measure has value added in the numerator and the total cost of adding value in the denominator. So, it is important for management to set goals for these four separate areas of measurement. By so doing, the supply chain can be improved by considerable amounts in most companies.
For illustrative purposes, an example of these measurements in a typical supply chain is given in the table below:






Inventory in days
Accounts receivable in days
Purchase cost
Added cost
On-time delivery (%)
Customer satisfaction (%)





We assume that there is just one of each in this example, thus:
                        Average on-time delivery = (85 + 90 + 95 + 95)/4 = 91.25 (%)
                        Average customer satisfaction = (50 + 80 + 70 + 80)/4 = 70 (%)
            Time can be measured in two ways as mentioned above:

  1. Total replenishment time (inventory)  = 20 + 60 + 30 + 20    = 130 (days)
  2. Total accounts receivable                    = 20 + 40 + 30 + 50   = 140 (days)

Then the total business cycle time                  = (130 + 140)             = 270 (days)
Likewise, we can calculate the cost by total delivered cost as a percentage of sales and by value added efficiency as shown in the following table:


Cost % of sales





After constructing these measures, the company must set goals for those it can control. For example, it might decide to cut inventories in half, to cut the amounts receivable days by one-third, to improve efficiency by 20%, to increase on-time deliveries to 95%, and to improve customer satisfaction to a level better than any of its competitors. The goals set should be consistent with the business strategy and overall business needs. Bearing in mind that any goals for improvement should be converted into financial terms. This can be done by taking the set of operational goals described above and converting them into changes in the income statement and balance sheet. As a result, it will be possible to determine the effect on net income, on assets, and on such financial measures as return on assets, return on equity, cash flow, and economic value added. Needless to say, the operational improvements must be in financial interest of each party in the supply chain. There are two basic ways to improve supply chains: by changing structure or infrastructure. Structural changes include capacity, facilities, process technology, and vertical integration. These changes are frequently long-range in nature, and require considerable capital. While infrastructure includes people, information systems, organization, production and inventory control, and quality control systems. Whether the improvement is in structure or infrastructure, it should either reduce uncertainty or replenishment time.
By structural change, there are five forms of structural change of the supply chain including: (1) forward and backward integration, (2) major process simplification, (3) changing the configuration of factories, warehouses, or retail locations, (4) major product design, and (5) outsourcing logistics to a third party. In term of improvement in infrastructure, its objective is similar to structural change. To remove sources of uncertainty or time from the supply chain. There are also five ways this can be done including: (1) cross functional teams, (2) partnerships, (3) setup time reduction, (4) information systems, and (5) cross-docking. In the supply chain management, another extremely important factor needs to be considered is the internet. As since electronic commerce is enabling supply chain management in many ways. The internet makes it possible to process information more rapidly and provide information not previously available and internet has enabled companies to sped up their supply chains and reduce costs. There are two fundamental processes in the supply chain need to be noticed involve order placement and order fulfillment.

The last important dimension of this paper deals with inventory. Repeatedly, inventory management is among the most important operations management responsibilities because inventory requires a great deal of capital and affects the delivery of goods to customers. Inventory has an impact on all business functions, particularly operations, marketing, accounting, and finance. In the first aspect of this important dimension involves “Independent-demand-inventory”. In helping operations deal with inventory problems, an economic order quantity (EOQ) will be discussed in detailed since it is widely used in industry for independent-demand inventory management. The derivation of the EOQ model is based on the following assumptions:

  1. The demand rate is constant, recurring, and known.
  2. The lead time is constant and known
  3. No stockouts are allowed.
  4. Material is ordered or produced in a lot or batch, and the lot is placed into inventory all at one time.
  5. A specific cost structure is used as follows: The unit item cost is constant, and no discounts are given for large purchases. The carrying cost depends linearly on the average inventory level. There is a fixed ordering or setup cost for each lot, which is independent of the number of items in the lot.
  6. The item is a single product.


Under these assumptions, a mathematical equation can be used with the following symbols:

D = demand rate, unit per year
S = cost per order placed, dollars per order
C = unit cost, dollar per unit
i = carrying interest rate, percent of dollar value per year
Q = lot size, units
TC = total of ordering cost plus carrying cost, dollar per year

The annual ordering cost is:
Ordering cost per year = (cost per order) X (orders per year) = SD/Q
In this equation, D is the total demand for a year, and the product is ordered Q units at a time. Thus D/Q orders are placed in a year. This is multiplied by S, the cost per order placed.

The annual carrying cost is:
Carrying cost per year = (annual carrying rate) X (unit cost)
                                        X (average inventory) = iCQ/2

In this equation, the average inventory is Q/2. A maximum of Q units is carried just as a batch arrives in inventory; the minimum amount carried is zero units. Since the stock is depleted at a constant rate, the average inventory is Q/2. The carrying rate per year (i) times the unit cost (C) gives the cost of holding one unit in inventory for a year. This unit charge multiplied by the average inventory level gives the total carrying cost on an annual basis.
            The total annual cost of inventory then is:
Total cost per year = ordering cost per year + carrying cost per year
TC = SD/Q + iCQ/2
            This formula implies that as Q increases, the ordering cost component decreases because fewer orders are placed per year; at the same time, however, the carrying cost component increases because more average inventory is held. Thus, ordering and carrying costs are offsetting; one decreases while the other increases. This is precisely the trade-off between ordering and carrying costs. Because of this trade-off, the function TC has a minimum. Taking the derivative of TC, set it equal to zero, and then solve for the resulting value of Q. Notice that the item cost of procurement is the constant CD, which is independent of Q and can therefore be removed from further consideration. It will not affect the minimum of TC. Without the use of calculus, the EOQ formula can be rationalized as follows: setting SD/Q = iCQ/2 and solve for the resulting of Q. This approach is not generalizable but works in this case due to the special nature of functions involved.

                                       SD        iC
                        TC’ =  - -----  +  ---      = 0
                                       Q2         2

                                        SD       iC
                                       -----  =  ---
                                        Q2        2

                        Q2  =  -------                            
                        Q  =  √ -------

            This is the equation of economic order quantity, which summarizes the cost of operating the inventory.
Although the cost on an annual basis has been minimized, any unit of time can be used provided the demand rate and interest rate are compatible.
            To illustrate the use of the EOQ formula, suppose we are managing a carpet store and want to determine how many yards of a certain type of carpet to buy. This carpet has the following characteristics:
                                                D = 360 yards per year
                                                S = $ 10 per order
                                                i = 25% per year
                                                C = $ 8 per year
            Thus, we have             Q = 60 yards
This means that the manager should order 60 yards of carpet at a time. This will result in 360/60 = 6 orders per year, or one order every two months.

And, the minimum cost of operating this inventory will be $ 120 per year as follows:
TC  = 10 (360/60) + 0.25 (8) (60/2)  = 60 + 60 =  $120
Note that the minimum cost occurs when the ordering-cost component equals the carrying-cost component. If shown in the chart, the total-cost curve for inventory is very flat. Hence, 50 or 70 units of carpet instead of 60 units are ordered, the cost change is very slight, equivalently about 1 % increase. Thus, the manager can adjust the order quantity by a fair amount if necessary. However, one limitation of this EOQ formula, in practice, is the assumption of constant demand. To relax this assumption and allow random demand, manager can use either the “Q-system, the continuous review system” and “P-system, the periodic review system” or “ABC Analysis, the 80-20 rule” approaches. Each of the above approaches has distinctive features. A continuous review system provides one way to handle random demand. When the stock position drops to the reorder point R, a fixed quantity Q is ordered. The time between orders will vary depending on actual demand. The value of Q is set equal to the EOQ. The value of R is based on the service level desired. While a periodic review system provides another way to handle random demand. The stock position is reviewed at fixed intervals P, and an amount is ordered equal to the target inventory T minus stock position. The amount ordered at each review period will vary depending on actual demand. The value of P is set by use of EOQ, and the value of T is based on the service level desired. Also in inventory control and management, managers can benefit from the use of materials requirements planning (MRP) systems. Because a successful MRP system requires (1) implementing planning well, (2) adequate computer support, (3) adequate data, (4) management support, and (5) user knowledge. If done successfully, the benefits of this MRP system include reduced inventory, increased customer service, and improved efficiency. One thing associated with inventory management should be remembered is that whether a company, especially in global settings, decides to source parts from inside or outside the company or from domestic or foreign sources, it needs to manage the flow and storage of inventory. If the company sources parts from a variety of suppliers from around the world, distance, time, and the uncertainty of the international political and economic environment can make it difficult for managers to determine correct reorder points for the manufacturing process. For example, in October 2002, the United State’s West Coast ports closed for 10 days because of a labor dispute. This development sent shudders through the global supply chains of many companies. This true as the Wall Street Journal stated, “The port shutdown offers a clear illustration of the fragility of the modern global-supply chain. Even a modest hiccup in the normally smooth flow of goods can gum the works at factories half a world away, and take weeks to set right again”.

Last but not least, the paper will highlight the “Just-in-Time” (JIT) system. JIT is an approach that seeks to eliminate all sources of waste in production activities by providing right part at the right place at the right time. As Taylor, Sam G. (2001) mentioned that JIT typically implies sole sourcing for specific parts in order to get the suppliers to commit to the stringent delivery and quality requirements inherent to JIT. Parts are therefore produced just in time to meet the manufacturing requirements rather than by traditional approach, which produces parts just in case (JIC). The JIT system results in much less inventory, lower costs, and better quality than the JIC approach. The objective of JIT, however, is to improve return on investment (ROI). A JIT system can increase revenue by improving quality, or by giving better delivery service. Better service is provided by shorter lead times, which allow faster response to customer needs, and by better conformance to schedule commitments. Cost reduction can be obtained in materials (less scrap and rework), labor, and overhead. Finally, investment is reduced by less inventory and greater throughput of plant and equipment. When JIT is evaluated, its effect on the bottom line and on the investment should be the ultimate test. In implementing successfully the JIT system, the following approach is suggested:

  1. Obtain commitment from top management. Make sure that they know what changes will be required and that they will provide the leadership to adopt the JIT approach. Prepare a plan for implementation usually with the assistance of a cross-functional team.
  2. Gain the co-operation of the workforce. Strong leadership is needed on the shop floor to make the JIT work. Guarantee stable employment, engage in training, and encourage participation. Small group improvement activities such as quality teams should be used to get all employees involved in problem solving. Begin cross-training the workforce.
  3. Start with the final assembly line. Level production to be almost identical every day. Reduce setup times until models can be fixed. Use standard containers for parts, and make them readily accessible to the assembly line.
  4. Working backward from final assembly, reduce setup times and lot sizes in fabrication areas to match the lot sizes needed in final assembly. Remove inventory from the storerooms, and put in on the shop floor.
  5. Balance the fabrication rates with final assembly production rates. This may require correction of capacity shortfalls. Provide space capacity in all areas. If any work center falls behind, it will need some spare capacity to catch up.
  6. Extend JIT to the suppliers. First, stabilize their delivery schedule, and then ask for frequent deliveries. Remove the inventory needed to cover long times and variances. Help suppliers with quality assurance to meet the specifications. Negotiate long-term contracts with suppliers. Said differently, JIT system, or a pull system, materials is pulled through production by the subsequent work centers. Materials are provided only when there is a subsequent demand; there is no pushing of materials into production to meet future demand. Hence, a repetitive master schedule is required for a pull system to work.

JIT is the preferred method for repetitive production in industry. JIT has such a major impact on operations management today. To be successful, the geographic distance between buyers and supplier, language differences, and cultural differences can increase the time it takes to educate suppliers on how to supply the products of high quality. Furthermore, choosing only one foreign supplier would be too risky so one solution to this problem might be that buyers can use a sole supplier for all but critical inputs



In order to have the best decision in the process selection, company have to consider market conditions, capital requirements, labor, management skills, raw materials, and technology. No mater how these factors are evaluated by company, the process selection decision must be strategic and cross-functional in nature. Regarding the choice of technology, company also has to consider not only net present value, but also the effects on customers, employees, and the environment. Also, a cross-functional strategy is needed to ensure that technological choice is integrated over time and help the company achieve a competitive advantage. To succeed, managers should seek to understand the performance characteristics of technology and resource planning systems need to be integrated not only operations information, but information from marketing, finance, and human resources.
In term of inventory, with an independent-demand inventory system in place, the company can: (1) protect against uncertainties, (2) allow economic production and purchase, (3) cover anticipated changes in demand and supply, and (4) provide for transit. Simultaneously, inventory systems will provide a clear picture of types of costs involve for operations managers to consider. These types of costs are item cost, ordering cost, carrying cost, and stockout cost. It should be noted that the carrying cost usually consists of three components: cost of capital, cost of storage, and costs of obsolescence, deterioration and loss.
Give the above costs, it is easy to see why inventory management is a cross-functional problem. Marketing department may be interested in minimizing the stockout costs associated with lost sales. Accounting and finance department may be interested in minimizing the amount of inventory that needs to be financed. Operations may want a sufficient level of inventory to assure smooth scheduling and production control.
Meanwhile, a comprehensive supply chain strategy should include the following elements: (1) customer service requirement, (2) plant and distribution center network design, (3) inventory management, (4) outsourcing and third-party logistics relationships, (5) key customer and supplier relationships, (6) business process, (7) information system, (8) organizational design and training requirements, (9) performance, and (10) performance goals. With a JIT system in hand helps reduce the setup time as much as possible, ideally to zero. Low setup times result in small economical lot sizes and shorter production lead times. Driving down the setup time for machines is a key to the JIT system. With shorter lead times and less material in process, the production system is also much more flexible to changes in the master schedule. To implement the JIT systems successfully, however, it requires a staged progression of activities. To management must provide leadership and support. The final assembly schedule must be leveled, followed by leveling of fabrication processes and supplier schedule. Lot sizes and lead times must be reduced for all stages of production. Intensive education of workers and management at all levels is needed.











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