JIT IS INTEGRAL TO SATURN’S SUCCESS
When Genera! Motors announced the Saturn project, its goal was very clear: to recapture the sn1~II-car market from
the Japanese. To accomplish this, GM incorporated many new and innovative concepts in designing Saturn’s manufacturing facility in.Spring Hill, Tennessee. For example, much higher percentage of the components are produced n-site instead of at a remote facility and transported toSpring Hill, which is the norm at other automobile assembly plants. Thus the facility includes a foundry to cast crankshafts and engine blocks, as well as huge injection molding machines to make the various plastic components. Linking these processes together is a just-in-time (JIT) “lean” system that is the tightest JIT system in the auto industry. according to Alec Bedrock, Saturn’s former VP of purchasing. There are very few buffer inventories separating the vehicle assembly line from the component manufacturing process. As an ill ratio, there are usually less than two-hours worth of powertrains between the engine plant and the assembly line. Suppliers deliver their products to the plant or LOC (Local Optimization Center; 24 hours a day, and deliveries must be made within a fifteen-minute window to be considered on time. If a late delivery causes a delay in production, the supplier can be fined $500 per minute. Ryder, Saturn’s logistic partner, manages the scheduling of both dock me and truck routes. Penske Corporation manages the LOC where parts are sequenced and delivered hourly to the Saturn plant. The LOC is a recent improvement that takes additional motor storage out of the plant, thereby increasing the manufacturing floor space. which allows Saturn to produce its small sport utility vehicle, the VUE. without expanding any of the manufacturing facilities. Parts are off-loaded and delivered directly to the point of use on the asset by line. There is no receiving area and no incoming inspection of material. Production parts are delivered daily. with larger items like radiators and frontend modules delivered more frequently. For example. seat from the seating supplier are delivered in proper assembly
line sequence every 30 minutes.