Harley-Davidson’s Just-in-Time (JIT) Journey
This case is about the Just-in-Time (JIT) implementation at Harley-Davidson Motor Company. After World War II, they faced with competition from Japanese companies, which were able to produce better quality motorcycles at comparatively lower cost. Harley-Davidson found that there were three most important practices of Japanese companies, which differentiated their production process from that of others: JIT manufacturing, employee involvement, and statistical process control. Harley-Davidson adopted those three principles and formulated different strategies to make this move possible and to make its manufacturing processes as efficient as that of its Japanese counterparts. The company finally succeeded in achieving its goals of reducing the cost of production, improving quality, and increasing its market share. With the company again getting into hard times, this case presents how it was trying to focus on “continuous improvement” in a bid to bring itself back into profits. Question #1: Why has continuous improvement been so successful at Harley Davidson? Continuous improvement is ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once. Under continuous improvement, a task or series of tasks were identified as the problem area in the business process, manufacturing operations, and product development where improvement could be made. Harley-Davidson required the active participation and commitment of its employees to help in eliminating unnecessary steps and complexity for the process and to bring more flexibility into the system. Continuous improvement helped the company identify savings opportunities and put those mechanisms into places, also improved the quality standards and the reduced the waste in the forms of cost, time and defects. Therefore with a year, all Harley-Davidson’s manufacturing...
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