The enduring repercussions of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the worsening global economy following the burst of the dotcom bubbles in 2001, the financial tsunami in 2008, and the incessant rise in customer demand for better services have all contributed to shrinking profit margins for businesses around the world. To cope with these challenges, firms are discovering logistics as a competitive weapon when looking for ways to strengthen and preserve their market positions. One successful solution has been the adoption of Just-in-Time manufacturing systems, which involve many functional areas of a firm such as manufacturing, engineering, marketing, and purchasing, among others. Just-in-Time Logistics extends the JIT concept in manufacturing to business logistics, an area that has been observed to account for more than 30 per cent of sales revenue for some firms. It gives you an overview and an introduction of JIT logistics, and provides managerial insights on how to achieve improved logistics performance in terms of cost and service enhancements. A discussion of the quality, implementation, and performance measurement issues related to the application of JIT in business logistics is also presented.
Kee-hung Lai and T.C.E Cheng are, respectively, Associate Professor and Chair Professor of Management at the Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.