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Journal of Operations Management
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jom
Relationship between just-in-time manufacturing practices and performance: A meta-analytic investigation
Alan W. Mackelprang 1, Anand Nair *
Department of Management Science, Moore School of Business, University ofSouth Carolina, 1705 College Street, Columbia, SC 29208, United States
A R T I C L E I N F O
A B S T R A C T
Article history: Received 18 September 2008 Received in revised form 21 October 2009 Accepted 23 October 2009 Available online 4 November 2009 Keywords: Just-in-time practices Performance Meta-analysis of correlations Theory development
Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing is amongthe most commonly researched topics in the area of operations management. This study examines the relationship between JIT manufacturing practices and performance outcomes by means of meta-analysis of correlations approach. Based on an in-depth analysis of literature spanning from 1992 to 2008, the results of this meta-analytic investigation support a positive relationship between JITmanufacturing practices and aggregate performance. However, the ﬁndings suggest that not all individual JIT practices are associated with all types of performance outcomes. This study highlights the JIT practices that have the greatest impact on individual performance outcomes and emphasizes the role of moderating factors in the relationship between JIT practices and performance. Theoretical and managerialimplications are discussed and directions for future theory building in JIT are presented. ß 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction Since the 1970s, global manufacturing has witnessed ﬁerce competitive environment. This challenging environment forced ﬁrms to identify additional sources of competitive advantage. For many ﬁrms, just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing practices haveprovided a competitive boost and enabled them to meet the demands of global competition. A comprehensive adoption of JIT practices can be quite expensive, nevertheless, many ﬁrms see implementing JIT practices as a worthwhile investment that will generate signiﬁcant returns via cost savings for years to come. The allure of JIT is due to its perceived ability to help ﬁrms reduce their costs whileimproving other operational metrics by eliminating non-value added activities. However, despite widespread global adoption of JIT practices, skeptics have questioned the successful application of JIT practices outside of Japanese culture (Heiko, 1989) and even doubted the effectiveness of JIT practices in Japanese ﬁrms (Kim and Takeda, 1996). The skepticism surrounding JIT mirrors the mixed results foundin research studies relating JIT practices to performance. For example, Dean and Snell (1996) found a lack of signiﬁcant relationships between JIT practices and performance, while Shah and Ward (2003) identiﬁed signiﬁcant positive relationships
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 803 777 2648; fax: +1 803 777 3064. E-mail addresses: Alan_mackelprang@moore.sc.edu (A.W. Mackelprang),firstname.lastname@example.org (A. Nair). 1 Tel.: +1 803 777 3482; fax: +1 803 777 3064. 0272-6963/$ – see front matter ß 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jom.2009.10.002
between them. Despite the inconsistencies found in the extant literature, JIT has remained popular in practice and is still widely utilized in ﬁrms around the globe. The continued popularity of JIT in practice paired withinconsistent research results linking JIT practices to speciﬁc performance outcomes has provided impetus for a growing body of research devoted to understanding JIT. Varying conceptualizations of JIT can be observed in extant literature. In some cases JIT has been deﬁned as a managerial or manufacturing philosophy (Upton, 1998), while others indicate that JIT is simply a set of practices (Flynn et al.,...