JIT in Services
Service organizations and service operations within manufacturing firms present interesting opportunities for the application of JIT concepts. Despite the many differences between service and manufacturing, both share the most basic attributes of production. because they employ processes that add value to the basic inputs with the objective of creating an end product or service. JIT focuses on processes, not products and, therefore, it can be applied to any group of processes, including manufacturing and services. The JIT goal is approached by testing.
each step in the process to determine if it adds value to the product or service. If these steps do not add value, then the process is a candidate for reengineering. In this way. the process gradually and continually improves. Both manufacturing and services can be improved with JlT because 60th involve processes, and JIT is essentially a process-oriented waste-elimination philosophy. The themes for JIT process improvement should therefore apply equally in a service environment.
Application of JIT to Services6
• Synchronization and balance of information and workflow.
• Total visibility of all components and processes.
• Continuous improvement of the process.
• Holistic approach to the elimination of waste.
• Flexibility in the use of resources.
• Respect for people
Synchronization and Balance of Information and Workflow Because services are intangible, it is important that there be synchronization between demand and capacity. In other words, capacity must be available when the customer demands it. From a workflow balance perspective. Feather and Cross report that the application of JITtechniques identified existing bottlenecks and eliminated unnecessary inventory buffers in the processing of contracts." As as result. throughput time was reduced 60 percent and the backlog in the number of 3t to be processed was reduced 80 percent.