Just in Time

is an inventory strategy implemented to improve the return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated costs. In order to achieve JIT [status] the process must have signals of what is going on elsewhere in the process.

This means that the process is often driven by a series of signals […] that tell production processes when to make the next part. [These] are usually ‘tickets’ but can be simple visual signals, such as the presence or absence of a part on a shelf. When implemented correctly, JIT can lead to dramatic improvements in a manufacturing organization’s return on investment, quality, and efficiency. Some have suggested that “Just on Time” would be a more appropriate name since it emphasizes that production should create items that arrive when needed and neither earlier nor later.

Semantics of ‘on’ vs. ‘in’ aside, what do these kinds of signals tell us? I alluded previously to complexity theory and the principle of indirect effects as constituent elements of systems ecology; one of the questions we need to reckon with in the ‘what’s next’ phase of our mourning is, how do we begin to untangle some of the many ways in which the American way of life and self-worth is connected to scams and schemes? A dangerous loss of legitimacy is waiting right around the corner for yet another cheek to be turned when a perp-walk might be warranted.

For a proper idea on the state of the reckoning, we can probably zoom past the savvy of green ads for a little while. Just sample/monitor the holiday editorials in your local paper and see what you come up with. Are they typical paeans to the year that was? Or are there little hints and allegations that actual people have had enough? Are people starting to ask questions with uncomfortable answers?