‘Just in time’ inventory model doesn’t work in a pandemic
The ‘just in time’ inventory model (JIT) has become the gold standard in distribution. Touted as the most efficient distribution model, JIT is defined as receiving goods as close as possible to when they are needed. It’s expensive to store inventory and just as expensive to be out of stock. Until now, successful businesses have been very good at only receiving what they need at the exact point they need it.
As we have seen around the world, however, in a pandemic, JIT is incredibly flawed. When demand and supply become unpredictable, the JIT model leaves businesses scrambling for stock they don’t have and can’t get. Supermarket shelves are left bare, and pharmacies run out of common painkillers.
Two years into the pandemic and we still haven’t learnt how to deal with a sudden surge in demand or a supply shortage. Business is still hanging on to an entrenched JIT model that doesn’t work in a post-COVID economic climate. It’s time to revise our business modelling.