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Did the pandemic really kill just-in-time? Experts weigh in.

By December 8, 2022No Comments

Just-in-time supply chains took a lot of heat during the pandemic after empty shelves laid bare the pitfalls of ordering as little inventory as possible in the name of efficiency.

But, with retailers now struggling with inventory glut and overstocked warehouses, could the lean operating model be making a comeback?

Experts are mixed: While some believe that just-in-time has no place in the supply chains of the future, others say a modified version of the strategy will still be necessary to maintain resilience while keeping costs down.

Supply Chain Dive reached out to three experts in supply chain management to ask: Did the pandemic kill just-in-time? Here are their responses, which may be edited for length and clarity.Just-in-time is not dead; however, the days of taking the concept literally and ordering inventory to arrive ‘just in time’ is dead. The just-in-time concept has always accounted for common sense decisions. For example, if ordering strategic inventory from China, you should account for likely demand and supply volatility and stockpile inventory appropriately. With that said, most businesses were completely focused on efficiencies prior to the pandemic and took just-in-time literally, assuming the supply chain would continue to support their needs. They went through the motions of assessing risk, but did not adjust their inventory profiles and were left empty handed during the pandemic.

 

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