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Hosp Mater Manage. 1986 Oct;11(10):13-6.

A practical application of just-in-time.


During the 1950s, the Japanese recognized that they would have to upgrade their manufacturing operations significantly if they were going to make inroads into world markets. One of the targets they set for themselves was to eliminate waste, particularly, excess inventory. The Toyota Company originated a concept called kanban hoshiki, which, when translated, means "card system". The name refers to the use of tags (cards) to track the flow of work-in-progress inventory. On this side of the Pacific, the kanban hoshiki inventory management system has been renamed Just-in-Time. The basic premise of JIT is that inventory is an evil presence that drains company cash flow, contributes to wast and misuse of company assets, takes up valuable space, and undermines company profitability. The principal goal of JIT, then, is to get as close to zero inventory as possible. JIT has been applied with success in large manufacturing industries and recently has found a home in small business as well. A growing number of hospitals are also experimenting with the JIT concept, sometimes under the name of stockless purchasing.

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