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just-in-time production

  A system of manufacturing in which inputs are supplied and outputs delivered very soon after demand for a finished good has been registered.

Perfected by Japanese automobile producers, and now emulated by North American and European assemblers, this set of practices has also diffused to other industrial sectors such as computer manufacturing. As one objective is to reduce the quantity of producers\' capital tied up in inventories of parts and finished products, producers no longer keep large buffer stocks of parts on hand. This has the consequent effect of forcing lower defect rates in parts supplied, and hence improves overall quality. Because suppliers are able to meet buyers\' varying requirements (in both number and type) on short notice, the system allows manufacturers to respond more flexibly to changing market demands. Adoption of such practices may exert an agglomerative force bringing buyers and suppliers closer together to facilitate rapid delivery on short notice. (See also commodity chain/filière; post-Fordism; production complex; transaction costs.) (MSG)



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