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Small businesses can use just-in-time just like the big boys.
Big companies pride themselves on buying input materials just-in-time. Money and time savings are considerable when Ford receives parts from suppliers just in time for those parts to be incorporated into the new cars rolling down the assembly line.
Likewise, small businesses can use just-in-time to keep costs down. For example, electrical and plumbing contractors pick up specialty materials needed for a job--on the way to the job. Landscapers can stop by a rental center to pick up the tools needed for that day's work.
Example: Gustav runs a restaurant that is known for menu items based on fresh, locally-grown produce. He has made arrangements with local farmers to supply his needs. Every evening, Gustav calls or emails his suppliers, ordering a variety of lettuces, leafy greens, fruits and berries in season. He has standing orders for eggs, cheeses and other milk products. His restaurant has built its reputation on just-in-time freshness.
Example: A local hardware store successfully competes with the big box stores by supplying needs quickly and on-time. Contractors (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc.) love this place. They know that the store will have the tools and materials they need on 2 or 3 days notice. They call the store and rest assured that the store will supply just-in-time. Likewise, the store depends on its just-in-time suppliers to meet these tight deadlines. And the suppliers depend on just-in-time deliveries to the hardware store by UPS, Fedex and the Postal Service. Just-in-time here is a chain reaction involving several operations--all meeting just-in-time deadlines. Hey! It works!
Other small businesses regularly use just-in-time deliveries from suppliers. Vehicle repair shops cannot keep on hand all the parts needed to complete work for their customers. They use parts supply houses that are set up to supply vehicle repair shops in the area. Sometimes deliveries can be made within the hour.
The just-in-time concept can be used in other small businesses. Put on your thinking cap.
Lots of experience available to you from a lifetime spent building and growing small businesses. Also, I've counseled and coached thousands of small businesses with every conceivable problem. Free, quick answers to your specific questions--email me at AlWarr16@gmail.com and put BLOG in the subject line so I don't delete. Maintain your privacy--email me anonymously.