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The New York Times has a piece about how Toyota started, and other companies embraced, the Just-In-Time movement:

"From fashion to food processing to pharmaceuticals, companies have embraced Just In Time to stay nimble, allowing them to adapt to changing market demands, while cutting costs.

"But the tumultuous events of the past year have challenged the merits of paring inventories, while reinvigorating concerns that some industries have gone too far, leaving them vulnerable to disruption. As the pandemic has hampered factory operations and sown chaos in global shipping, many economies around the world have been bedeviled by shortages of a vast range of goods — from electronics to lumber to clothing."

The Times goes on:

"Just In Time has amounted to no less than a revolution in the business world. By keeping inventories thin, major retailers have been able to use more of their space to display a wider array of goods. Just In Time has enabled manufacturers to customize their wares. And lean production has significantly cut costs while allowing companies to pivot quickly to new products.

"These virtues have added value to companies, spurred innovation and promoted trade, ensuring that Just In Time will retain its force long after the current crisis abates. The approach has also enriched shareholders by generating savings that companies have distributed in the form of dividends and share buybacks.

"Still, the shortages raise questions about whether some companies have been too aggressive in harvesting savings by slashing inventory, leaving them unprepared for whatever trouble inevitably emerges."

You can read the entire story here.