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What Does "Just in Sequence" Mean?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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Just in sequence is an approach to manufacturing where components arrive at an assembly line in a specific order at the precise moment they are needed, and not before. It can be a component of just in time manufacturing, where companies minimize the amount of supplies they have in storage to cut costs and streamline operations. Using these approaches makes a business more flexible and more efficient. It can increase the bottom line without forcing the company to compromise the quality and reliability of its products.

The automotive industry uses this method of manufacturing most widely. In car manufacturing, components from a variety of sources must be pulled together to create a complete car. If the company maintains a parts inventory for the assembly line, it must sink capital into the purchase of parts and needs to create room to store and maintain them. This can consume substantial production resources and may also create situations where the company has a pressing need for parts and must wait for them because the shipper isn't used to rapid delivery.

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With just in sequence, the car company works with the shipper and supplier to get deliveries of the right parts for manufacturing, right as they are needed. Parts come in a specific order, and workers on the assembly line can unpack them directly from shipping containers and install them, without a stop in storage or the need for sorting. The manufacturer can specify the order of the parts down to the color and special features so workers will always have the right part when they need it.

One advantage of this approach is tremendous flexibility. Up until the order is pulled at the supplier, the company can change it to add elements, reorder the sequence, and so forth. The familiarity with rapid order pulling and delivery also allows the supplier and shipper to meet unexpected needs quickly. If the company's production needs change, it can quickly meet them with minimal lag time, since it is already operating on a just in sequence system.

This inventory strategy cuts costs and can be ideal for manufacturing complex items like cars and heavy machinery. Firms that specialize in just in sequence and other approaches can help factories set up for it and establish contracts with shippers and suppliers to keep the assembly line moving. These firms maintain consultants who can evaluate a company to determine its needs. The consultants can also meet with prospective suppliers to discuss sourcing and shippers to work out the details of a just in sequence delivery contract.

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