Magazine article The Spectator

When Just in Time Meets Murphy's Law, the Machinery Coughs and Expires

Magazine article The Spectator

When Just in Time Meets Murphy's Law, the Machinery Coughs and Expires

Article excerpt

One way to manage a business is Just Not In Time. We can all think of examples. Under JNIT, work proceeds until stocks run down and run out and machinery coughs and expires. This is then drawn to the foreman's attention. He doubts it. Everything was all right last week, when he looked, he explains. Having looked again, he makes a note to order more stock and to call a mechanic to fix the machine. Unfortunately there are no more deliveries until after the holidays, and the mechanic needs a spare part, which is out of stock. Later, the chairman explains this away as a side-effect of streamlining production. He and his colleagues have called in consultants, who for a suitable fee have converted them to the idea of managing their business Just In Time. That may be what they think they are doing, but it is not as simple as it sounds. …

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