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What Is This Process?
JIT or Just-In-Time is a quality improvement process developed in Japan, predominantly in manufacturing plants, to help production move along at an organized rate. It ensures consumers are always provided with the products they want and need.
JIT was first implemented and used by the Toyota Motor Company in the 1970s. Taiichi Ohno first developed JIT and today Ohno is called the father of JIT.
Part of utilizing this quality process in manufacturing means, much like the 5S Methodology, that all managers and workers must adopt the JIT policy and agree to work by its strict standards, even if it means dealing with change resistance or company-wide revisions to adopt the process.
Companies who have implemented JIT find that through audits and measurement standards the employees are better at decision-making, become enthusiastic on striving to improve, and demonstrate better employee loyalty, meaning less turnover.
Along with analyzing and measuring the JIT process comes the reward system. So, what are the appropriate reward systems for JIT processes?
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Rewards Are Essential
In today’s world of manufacturing, especially in the United States, often workers have no real incentives to achieve other than congratulations on a job well done or safety incentives for days gone by with no injuries. In the JIT process, rewards are essential and based on various measurements and achievements.
At Toyota Motor Company, some of the JIT rewards include monetary incentives, gold and silver factory floor awards, a QC circle prize, and a QC circle contest. All rewards are offered based on measuring how well the JIT process is followed and how successful teams, workers, and managers complete jobs on time with little waste.
In project management efforts where the JIT is implemented and followed, some of the following may be appropriate reward systems for the JIT process:
- Phase Rewards – When stages are completed to set standards in JIT, phase rewards may be offered to teams and managers. This can be done by setting up phase levels within a project and determining what monetary bonuses could be offered to teams and the managers who monitor those teams.
- Contest Rewards – Because JIT often allows each worker to be his own inspector or evaluator, contests can be set up to see which team or workers can achieve work performance in the shortest period of time as long as quality remains forefront.
- Profits Rewards – JIT also means getting top quality products to the customer quickly. More sales mean more profits so teams who are able to produce products with the highest profits could be rewarded through a percentage of profits made.
- Process Rewards – Teams who achieve the most improvement on streamlining quality processes should also be rewarded based on level of improvement.
- Management Rewards – Beyond JIT rewards for workers and teams, managers who monitor, evaluate, measure, and implement processes should also receive reward merits and incentives based on team performances.
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Why Rewards Work
Naysayers of the JIT process may say, “I give my employees annual bonuses, isn’t that enough?" The feeling behind the philosophy of JIT is actually more than being compensated for a job well done.
Because JIT processes are set up to be more automated in nature with designated steps to get from point A to point B, workers and their achievements can be measured easier. Weak areas that need improvement are quickly identified in JIT and how fast those weak areas are corrected can also be analyzed for a reward system.
The history of JIT has shown that workers embrace the quality process method, especially because there are rewards to achieve. Part of making your projects lean may be implementing the JIT manufacturing process and modifying it to meet your deadlines, budgets, lifecycles, and outcomes. Keep in mind, however, that JIT means you absolutely must follow the appropriate reward system for JIT processes.
Factory 1 / Wikimedia Commons
Factory USA / Wikimedia Commons