Inventories: JIT Tops Management Practices

Pull systems with kanban signals are the second most common practice

Supplier deliveries that arrive just in time (JIT) during production are the most common means for managing inventories among U.S. manufacturers surveyed by IndustryWeek and the Manufacturing Performance Institute for the 2006 Census of Manufacturers. Pull systems with kanban signals are the second most common practice, followed by vendor-managed or vendor-owned inventories.

(The survey allowed for multiple responses.) However, despite all the publicity and promotion it's received in recent years, RFID falls in the least-used category, according to the census.

How Manufacturers Manage Inventories

Just-in-time supplier deliveries -- 43.4%
Pull systems with kanban signals -- 40.6%
Vendor-managed or vendor-owned inventories -- 34.0%
Quick equipment changeovers -- 30.5%
One-piece flow techniques -- 27.3%
Parts/goods supermarkets -- 17.7%
Production leveling/heijunka -- 17.7%
RFID and computerized inventory tracking -- 11.2%
None of the above -- 18.9%

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