Engineering a Balance between Just-in-Time and Just-in-Case Practice

16 Feb 2020 5:57 PM | Annmarie Uliano (Administrator)

by Palak Shah

The term engineering is not limited to the educational or professional arena but encompasses a wide spectrum of life science and materials science applications. Engineering is innately involved, from micro to mega creations, explorations to innovations, and from deliberated designs, development, production; to functional maintenance and management of cross-functional sectors withstanding unavoidable human flaws and unforeseen natural disturbance over time. When ‘time is money’ and not everything can be predicted ahead of time, there is no black and white approach for working through trials and errors adhering to fundamental guidelines. Even with set standard procedures and consistent practices, changes are inevitable for engineering further prospects, up-to-date competitive advantage, and optimum outcomes. Engineering is intended to make life simpler, faster, and better than harsh or difficult work. Engineering managers need to know the rules well, so they can break, amend, or reset the standards effectively as needed. 

Having things simple and smooth comes from a well-balanced engineering approach - naturally, individually and collaboratively. Multifaceted planning, cross-functional execution, and overall management are not only complex under time constraints but also calls to include hypotheses and judgement for uncertainty. Beyond their traditional applications in inventory management and lean manufacturing, the ‘Just-in-Time’ (JIT) and ‘Just-In-Case’ (JIC) methods have their relevance to engineering any day-to-day tasks on every workfloor at companies, at homes, and at remote online workplaces. Consider whether JIT is an ideal philosophy or a real practice, while JIC is a model planning or mere probability. Either JIT or JIC is conventionally considered, but balancing between these methods for the same project in different circumstances is a key to comprehensive engineering life-cycle management. I call it JI(T-C)’, a lean, safe, energy efficient and user friendly approach applicable to any field of engineering. This combination makes for a sustainable method that prepares the system to be more resilient to constructively embrace all sorts of incidents or curveballs.

The core purpose of ‘JI(T-C)’ is to balance lean efficiency and safety. Take this application on the 5S methodology: Sort, Set-in-order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. 

  • Utilize a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) matrix

    • Sorting out different areas suitable for efficient time practices, as well as case analysis of potential hazards requiring more lead time. 

    • Set in order the resources and workflow to have minimal waste, JIT required steps with feasible tasks and safe, ergonomic arrangements. 

  • Employ CAPA (Corrective and Preventive Action) and FMEA (Failure Modes & Effect Analysis)

    • Shining refers to keeping the process clear and transparent to avoid pitfalls. 

    • Standardizing approach for each unique case or similar cases, with resource flexibility for time shifts and emergency tasks, followed by standard documentation and proper reporting.

  • Use TQM (Total Quality Management)

    • Sustaining objectives under quality checks and occasional maintenance with a vigilant view for deformities to be resolved within lead time.  

Below are some useful sites for a few diverse engineering disciplines as well as JI(T-C) training, prevention, and parenting solutions as a part of engineering all-round life-cycle management. 

All-Round Engineering Management Consulting:

Inner Engineering:

JIT Training & Prevention from Social Engineering:

JIT Parenting and JIC Positive Parenting Solutions:

About the Author

Palak Shah has pursued her BS in Biomedical Engineering and MS in Engineering Management with a Project Management certification. She is also a proud mother currently living in Dallas, Texas with her daughter and husband. She carries diverse work experience from a STEM tutor to corporate internal & external operations change analyst and as an independent consultant for medical devices engineering, R&D and IT sectors for SAP implementation. She possesses an innate awe for learning multi-languages and loves reading, writing, scrapbooking and striving for result-driven communication & creativity in all-round opportunities & challenges. Connect with her on LinkedIn

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