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Mapping JIS processes with special software

- What are the advantages and what alternatives do you have?

Woman with safety helmet and high-visibility vest in production automobile

JIS processes can hardly do without software support: The requirements for transparency, automation and digitalization are high. Companies can rely on special software solutions that have been developed precisely for such processes. In this article, we look at who such systems are suitable for and which alternatives you can use. 

Table of contents

1. what are JIS processes?

Just in Sequence (JIS) is a special form of delivery. Logistics always refers to the delivery of the right quantity at the right time. That would be Just-in-time-delivery. In the case of JIS or sequence delivery, the goods must also be delivered in the correct order.

This delivery method is frequently used in the automotive industry. The tight cycle times on the car manufacturers' assembly lines and the wide range of variants mean that all parts have to be delivered in the right order so that they can be installed directly without having to be stored in the meantime.

While these processes at automobile manufacturers (including Original Equipment Manufacturer, OEM for short) provide many advantages, they tend to cause problems for suppliers. JIS delivery is therefore also referred to as the supreme discipline of logistics. Because in order to always deliver correctly (in the right quantity, at the right time and in the right order), all processes at the supplier must run smoothly and with absolute transparency.

OEMs also specify exactly how suppliers must receive and process the delivery call-offs electronically and then transmit them again as shipping notifications or shipment documents at the end of the delivery process. This is normally done electronically via EDI (electronic data interchange), in exceptional cases also via a web service. Digital processes are therefore not an optional investment decision for suppliers, but a basic requirement. Suppliers therefore need suitable software solutions.

2. which software solutions can I use for JIS processes?

There are basically three different ways of mapping JIS processes with software. Here we take a look at all three options and the advantages and disadvantages of each:

2.1 Own development

In smaller companies: Companies that are not yet particularly large or have not been in existence for very long tend to rely on self-developed solutions. Instead of investing a lot of money to buy in external services or solutions, they want their own software for their own company because they believe it would be the cheapest and at the same time the most suitable for their individual processes.

This calculation also works in the short term: as long as the IT employees have the necessary specialist knowledge, individual processes can be mapped in this way with little effort and without major investment. However, the real problem arises in the long term: as the company grows and more customers and therefore new requirements are added, it becomes increasingly time-consuming and complicated to expand the software, keep it running and adapt it. The more processes are added, the more difficult it becomes and the more frequently problems arise.

At the same time, the know-how about the solution lies with very few employees. If they have not documented the development and processes precisely, the dismissal of such an employee is an enormous risk for the company.

In larger companies: Global corporations often have the necessary resources for in-house development. In particular, companies that have hired IT specialists in countries with lower wages can generally have an independent solution developed that has the same level of quality as a purchased software solution. This means that the range of functions, stability and scalability can also be guaranteed in this case. In addition, there are enough resources to ensure the operation of the solution. However, the normal case looks different.

2.2 Extension of an existing solution with JIS functions

Most companies already use software solutions to plan, control and map processes and resources. ERP software or production or warehouse and logistics solutions (MES or WMS) in particular are very common.

Some of these IT solutions already have basic functions for mapping JIS processes. One example would be the JIT functionalities that you receive as part of the SAP ERP ECC module. However, the major disadvantage of such existing functions is that they do not take any individual requirements into account. This means that you can neither map your own special features nor those required by your customers. Furthermore, many of these solutions are not designed to establish flawless electronic communication with your customers.

If you want to expand your existing systems, you face an additional challenge: who programs the expansion and how do you ensure that the systems and the expansions run smoothly in the long term? The biggest risk is if you initially only implement small functional enhancements with the help of your IT department. Perhaps you initially only need to supply individual customers and implement their requirements. This solution is initially quick, inexpensive and manageable.

However, if your company grows, gains more customers, has to map new processes or opens new locations, you will eventually reach a point where this solution becomes a problem: The necessary workarounds to keep everything running, the effort to operate the solution and keep it up to date will then continue to grow. And if things go really badly, you will have distributed all the knowledge about your self-programmed solution to a very small group of IT employees.

Without wanting to sound too threatening: There are certainly some companies that can work this way without any problems. And not every supplier needs to plan major investments for the first JIS delivery in order to be perfectly prepared for every possible requirement. However, it is advisable to deal with these potential problems. Then you can consider and possibly reduce the risk that may arise for your company.

By the way: With common systems such as SAP, you can also purchase functional enhancements as ready-made add-ons. The advantage: the solutions can be integrated smoothly, are tried and tested and are usually kept up to date for you.

2.3 Special software for JIS processes

If it looks like JIS processes are or at least will be very important in your company, then it makes sense to look into specialized software. Instead of having to deal with specific process requirements and their implementation in detail, you will then usually receive a complete package: JIS software can map this process seamlessly for you, from the transmission of your customer orders through to delivery.

Providers of such solutions are usually experts in the specific processes and industry requirements from which you can benefit. The software manufacturers can also provide you with the necessary resources if no one in your IT department has the time or expertise to develop their own solution.

3. conclusion:
You should ask yourself the following questions if you want to map JIS processes

The extent to which you want to use specialized software solutions or rely on self-developed extensions to your existing solution depends on several factors. It is difficult to make a general recommendation.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to create a basis for decision-making that takes your company's needs into account:

  • How do you want to be positioned in terms of JIS supply in the future? Do you want to supply different OEM customers and take different requirements into account accordingly?
  • How much flexibility do you need? How often do your processes, your product range or your customers change?
  • Which key figures (e.g. delivery reliability) are important in your company and how do you ensure that you can map them transparently?
  • What do your internal IT resources look like? Can you react quickly to problems or changes?
  • What does your existing system landscape look like? How do you want to be positioned in the future and what strategy are you pursuing?
  • How important is it to you to reduce risks? How do you ensure that your processes and systems function smoothly and do not fail?


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