Product variety and just-in-time conflict and challenge

David J. Bennett, Paul Forrester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the question of how just-in-time can be implemented within high variety manufacture. To illustrate some of the principles in relation to the high variety-low volume situation the case of a computer manufacturer is considered in detail. For contrast the paper also considers the case of the manufacture of highly-configured four wheel drive vehicles where both variety and volumes are high. The most important issue in high variety/low volume production is that JIT operation should be seen in terms of the tactical holding of inventory in upstream buffers within the supply chain so that value is not added to work in progress prematurely. Tactical buffers ensure that service levels are maintained and the risk of stock-outs is minimized. In high variety/high volume production schedule integrity is the key factor, unreliable schedules being a major inhibitor to the introduction of JIT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • inventory
  • just in time
  • product range
  • production management
  • stock control


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