A set is a collection of things that belong together. When the set is assembled, then it is kitted. In logistics, Just-In-Time delivery is timely preparation and meticulous collection, for example for the assembly industry.
This is how just-in-time delivery service works: when products are manufactured in industry, they are usually assembled from components and various parts. The parts are in the warehouse. When the assembler starts work, the parts he needs, collected from the warehouse, are brought to him at just the right time. Not too much and not too little.
Just-in-time delivery service is one of the services offered by HUB logistics. Business Director Mikko Heinilä explains the concept with an example:
– A bicycle assembler assembles a bicycle at the factory from a variety of parts. Our service means that we bring him all the parts he needs for the bike from the warehouse. The assembler does not have to search for or fetch anything himself. Parts are delivered exactly when the assembler needs them – and exactly the parts he needs. Nothing extra. Then he can concentrate fully on his own work and not have to think about missing parts. And there is no material lying around in the assembly area that is not needed.
Anssi Tura, Development Director at HUB logistics, takes the ideas and service model to the restaurant world:
– Just-in-time delivery service is preparatory work. We have used the image of a waiter in a restaurant using a silver platter to bring the food to the customer’s table, with the right portions, at the right time.
Just-in-time delivery service is therefore about facilitating the customer’s core activity. For our customers, a nurse, a fitter as well as an assembler can concentrate on what they do best. They don’t have to fetch supplies or search for parts in the warehouse in the middle of a job.
A lot of JIT-delivery service is done in industry, where, for example, crane or pump parts with screws and bolts are collected and delivered. But the concept can be applied to many sectors. Anssi Tura says that HUB logistics does kitting, for example, in Lahti Central Hospital, where supplies and protective equipment are delivered to the treatment rooms and operating theatres in appropriate quantities at the right time. This is also JIT-delivery service.
– Just-in-time delivery service is therefore about facilitating the customer’s core activity. For our customers, a nurse, a fitter as well as an assembler can concentrate on what they do best. They don’t have to fetch supplies or search for parts in the warehouse in the middle of a job,” says Anssi Tura.
Precision deliveries, component service and JIT delivery
There are many steps and also many terms associated with just-in-time delivery service and set collection. According to Anssi Tura, the concept could be called, for example, production service, factory service, assembly service, spare parts service, component service, on-demand service, on-demand supply, on-demand selection, production feed, factory feed and so on.
– The names open up the issue from many angles. The term just-in-time delivery is used particularly in the construction industry. Timing is essential. Hence the logistics term Just In Time, i.e. timely delivery, is involved, Anssi Tura adds.
HUB logistics’ services mainly only deliver parts and materials to the customer, but also have the capacity to carry out pre-installation and assembly of parts.
Speaking of terms, Anssi Tura and Mikko Heinilä point out that if you add tools to the set, it’s called kitting.
– In the kitting we deliver the parts for the product. In addition, if the tools needed for assembly were added to the set, such as an Allen key and a wrench, we are already talking about kitting. We do that too, but the focus is on a model where assemblers themselves have the tools they need to do the assembly work.
Designing the set collection, is our core competence. In this work, we analyse the number and variations of occurrences and create a concept based on this information.
Components according to customization
HUB logistics’ manufactory part picking services cover a wide range of products, from screws and bolts to large components.
– The end product or the end customer’s need can be anything. We have supplied parts and accessories to the assemblers at a car factory, and on the other hand we make sure that the hospital’s treatment room has the necessary supplies available at the right time,” says Mikko Heinilä.
The information about what belongs to a particular set comes from the customer’s systems. The more complex the structure of the product and the variation in components, the more challenging it is to carry out the set collection.
– In a car, for example, there is a wide range of options: colour, rims, mirrors, interiors and other accessories. The manufactory part picking is then tailored precisely to the needs of the assembly. And that, designing the set collection, is our core competence. In this work, we analyse the number and variations of occurrences and create a concept based on this information,” says Anssi Tura.
Advance planning is the most important step
Set collection as a service is chosen when the customer has a clear aim to develop production. HUB logistics brings its expertise and, above all, the perspective that just-in-time delivery service is worthwhile and efficient.
Planning involves checking the correct timing on the basis of which the JIT-delivery can be done. Anssi Tura points out that the logistics and assembling the sets is, after all, only one part of the whole.
Advance planning is therefore the biggest part of the collaboration. Mikko Heinilä says it all starts with the customer’s needs:
– Our job is to go through the whole operation and fully understand how the process works. All the steps are designed and built on that understanding, one step at a time.
– In the workshops, we describe the process, identify the customer’s end products and their components, and estimate how many of each product is manufactured and how much of each product is moved. This allows us to design the right material flow and understand how different components move as part of it,” explains Anssi Tura.
– At the beginning, we will also do a process walk-through, which means we will go through the current facilities on site and see what happens there,” adds Mikko Heinilä.
During the planning phase, concrete lines are drawn to show, for example, where the warehouse trains move and where they stop. Often, the concept is initially piloted on a single production line with a complete finished product, from which it is then expanded.
– Everything is done in cooperation with the customer and HUB. But the main responsibility for the functionality of the logistics lies with us. We are talking about assembly line services: our “waiter” and the customer’s assembler are often close colleagues and work closely together, Anssi Tura and Mikko Heinilä say.
JIT delivery service as part of in-house logistics
Just-in-time delivery is mostly done at the customer’s premises, but also at HUB logistics’ own warehouses – depending on the customer’s situation and the size of the operation.
– It is often the case that the customer’s production facilities run out of space if the warehouses are located in the same area. When more space is needed for production, the warehouse is moved elsewhere. In such situations, we have built a new warehouse next to the factory, through which we operate. A good example of this is the car factory in Uusikaupunki, where HUB logistics built a logistics centre next to the factory in 2013, Anssi Tura says.
JIT delivery service is therefore both in-house logistics and the provision of seamless warehousing services. It is, at its best, a service on a “silver platter” in the customer’s production facilities.
A similar model is currently being implemented in Kotka, where a new building of 5,300 square metres is being constructed in the immediate vicinity of the Sulzer Pumps Finland Ltd factory.
However, it is not always possible to build a new warehouse. Then aim is to organise production facilities more efficiently and create separate areas for production and storage. Sometimes set collection takes place further away in HUB logistics’ own warehouse, from where the material is delivered by truck to the production point.
JIT delivery service is therefore both in-house logistics and the provision of seamless warehousing services. According to Anssi Tura and Mikko Heinilä, it is, at its best, a service on a “silver platter” in the customer’s production facilities, when the materials are delivered from close by and fed into production.
JIT delivery service is suitable for many sectors
According to Anssi Tura, the classic customer for manufactory part picking is in the engineering or assembly industry or in sectors related to electronics. But the concept is also in demand in many other sectors, such as hospitals in the public sector.
The concept could work well, for example, in the restaurant business, in large kitchens or in the food industry, where the ingredients of the dishes would be assembled according to the needs of the kitchen and at the right time. Things and preparatory work could be broken down into smaller and more precise components, again exactly when they are needed.
– And of course, the food boxes brought home are also JIT delivery, Anssi Tura reminds us.
Better materials management
– Often in the initial situation, material management has been a problem for the customer: where are which parts and how many of them are there? Good materials management can help to clarify these issues. We know the location of the goods in our warehouses to the nearest ten centimetres and we also know the exact quantities. It is a continuous inventory, and the balances are always kept up to date, Mikko Heinilä assures.
– In other words, we don’t just serve the customer’s chef or assembler, we enable a higher quality and more up-to-date operation for the whole company.
Anssi Tura points out that knowing the right amount of materials is important, especially in these times. There is a huge shortage of chips and components in the world and they are arriving in Finland in cycles, which exacerbates the problem. It is costly and inefficient if products cannot be built to completion due to shortages and the production sequence has to be constantly changed.
One of the benefits is the cleanliness of the premises. Usually, the necessary materials are unpacked and the whole set is transported to its destination on a trolley.
More efficiency in production
The most important benefit for the client company is that set collection allows the right people to do the right things. Anssi Tura presents another example:
– The production line produces, for example, matchboxes. A person skilled in assembling the box first retrieves the cardboard for the box from one warehouse and the matches from another warehouse and then assembles it. Currently, ten matchboxes per hour flow through the line.
– So now we have an employee who knows that 50 matches go into each box and that a certain amount of cardboard is needed. When he brings the right amount of material to the assembler, the assembler gets 30% more capacity for his work, according to studies. After that, 13 matchboxes are produced per hour on the same line. As capacity increases, the result is more profit. Efficiency is also created when the logistics process becomes more precise and errors can be minimised.
– The assembler concentrates on what he does best and the collector on what he does best. Clarity and focus on expertise are big benefits of just-in-time delivery service,” says Anssi Tura.
One of the benefits is the cleanliness of the premises. Usually, the necessary materials are unpacked and the whole set is transported to its destination on a trolley. Return logistics is also part of the concept, i.e. when goods are brought in wagons, any waste that is generated is also removed when they return. So there is less waste and less cardboard dust on the production floor. Sorting packaging waste is also much more efficient.
HUB logistics knows how to organise Just-In-Time delivery service from start to finish
The three main strengths of HUB logistics’ JIT delivery services are a skilled design team, strong system support and their own working concept. Then it’s on to the equipment and facilities, all organised according to the customer’s needs.
As a customer, you see the end result when the set – the right materials – is delivered to your company’s production line at the right time. Prior to that, collection takes place in the warehouse, which is done in accordance with the system order.
Good advance planning and preparation skills are needed to implement the service. We have invested in this by putting together an experienced design team. To find out more about our services, please contact us. We’ll be happy to tell you more.