After World War II devastated Japan’s, the need for a new more cost effective and cost cutting form of manufacturing became more necessary than ever before to kickstart Japan’s post war economy. Hoping to find economic success and restore the Japanese economy in the car industry, Toyota devised a new method, a master class in industrial engineering known as the just-in-time system. The system, which is still used by many companies, and almost every one in the tech industry, revolved around not keeping any inventory, and only completing steps in the manufacturing when the components to do so became available. The practice had many key advantages, such as negating the need to stockpile of components and wait to use them until when it became necessary to do so, which required keeping extra inventory. Furthermore, this practice’s usefulness is amplified in the hardware industry, where components have extra short shelf lives, and keeping them as extra inventory often leads to manufacturers having to absorb large costs from unused inventory. However, this practice has drawbacks, which are more visible than ever right now. Hardware manufacturers lack of inventory of vital components due to the use of the just-in-time system has come back to bite them in this trying time, where the manufactures of these components are unable to provide them, due to their location in China, the epicenter of this crisis. The trials that this longstanding system faces now could shape its structure in the future. Companies will be forced to reevaluate their manufacturing practices in response to the problems that face them right now. These changes could offer several benefits and drawbacks for consumers. As a benefit, not having to wait for components could mean that electronic devices could be produced faster. On the other hand, the possibility of companies stockpiling components would almost definitely force those companies to absorb the added costs that come with that, which would in turn trickle down to consumers through higher prices that reflect higher production costs. To conclude, the flaws made visible by the crisis we face today will almost definitely lead to manufacturing innovations in the future.s
Interesting. Wonder if this applies to Apple components—how does Apple handle theirs?