Toyota Builds Inventory

Caution: rhetoric ahead.

A brief at the Detroit Free Press online says that Toyota and Honda, "may modify their just-in-time manufacturing system to avoid possible supplier bankruptcies affecting production."

"We are told inventory is a waste."

Some go as far as (foolishly) adopting a "zero inventory" policy.

"We have "learned" all this from Toyota."

"So, now they are building inventory? Why?"

"Isn't that anti-lean? I thought the kanban system was invincible?"

O.k., I got that out of my system. Thanks! One thing to keep in mind is that the kanban system is not a zero inventory system. It could be better classified as a "right-sized" inventory system. What is the right size inventory for a high demand market? What is the right quantity for a low demand market? What is the right demand for a market where your suppliers go bankrupt?

In this sense, we can see how kanban/JIT systems are countermeasures to external forces beyond the control of Toyota. Kanban is what they can control. By saying that these companies will "modify" their JIT/kanban systems demonstrates the misundestanding of these systems. It is not a fixed. Increasing the quantities in the kanban system is not the same as changing the rules that govern the system. Big difference. The rules still apply, the quantities only change. Another reason why people fail to see how kanban can apply in any organization at any time.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Your involvement is essential to ongoing evolution of the leadership community.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home