Posted by Kirsten Gibbs Last updated 18th February 2021 reading time
I’ve been a just-in-time practitioner for much of my life. It’s how I used to do all my homework. Sometimes, I got the best marks for stuff I’d finished in the early hours of the day I handed it in. On the other hand, I always got my worst marks for stuff that never got handed in at all – because something cropped up at the last minute.
I was a one-person supply chain. Imagine the possibilities for disaster with a complex regional, national or even global supply chain. Actually, you probably don’t need to imagine, just remember back to last March’s supermarket shelves.
‘Just in time’ exists, not to serve the client, but to serve the supplier. It works brilliantly when everything happens exactly as expected. But when it doesn’t it’s the client that loses out. Bad enough when it’s toilet paper, potentially fatal when it’s electricity to heat your home.
So if you care about your client, it seems only sensible to make sure there’s always a little bit of ‘buffer’.
Otherwise ‘just in time’ for you simply means ‘hand to mouth’ for the people you purport to serve.