Just‐in‐time (JIT) systems were originally designed for deterministic production environments such as constant processing times and smooth and stable demand. However, once implemented, JIT is fraught with numerous types of uncertainties, including variations in processing time and demand, planned interruptions such as preventive maintenance and unplanned interruptions such as equipment failure. These uncertainties lead to lowered production throughput, decreased machine utilization, increased order completion time and greater backlogs and overtime requirements. In this paper, we introduce a newly developed system, which we refer to as the flexible kanban system (FKS), to cope with uncertainties and planned/unplanned interruptions. We demonstrate the superiority of the new system by considering four case examples covering various uncertainties, conducting numerous studies and comparing the overall performances of the FKS with that of the traditional JIT system. In all the cases considered, the performance of the FKS was, indeed, superior to that of the traditional JIT system.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 1999
Keywords: Flexibility; Kanban; Process management