“When business processes transcend systems, companies need to break away from information silos and raw data mindsets and create digital strategies through JITI to support business processes. The key to realizing JITI is to get out of the current IT environment, be guided by business goals, and clarify the information needed to achieve the goals and how to implement the goals through this information.
By Jethro Borsje, Chief Low-Code Solutions Officer, Mendix
From isolated systems to information systems that support decision-making
In the second half of the twentieth century, Toyota developed the “Toyota Production System” (TPS) that helped the company improve efficiency and quickly produce high-quality cars. The value of TPS was widely recognized and popularized around the world. One of the core concepts of the system is “just-in-time”, that is, each process link only produces the products required by the next process link, and forms a complete set of continuous processes. Just-in-Time does not focus on the current state of the process, but on the desired future state and how to achieve it. Currently, this philosophy focuses on improving and optimizing physical processes in real-world production.
Mendix has helped many businesses accelerate their digital transformation, many of which have been successful in embracing Just-In-Time Information (JITI). These customers recognize that delivering the right information to the right people at the right time can play a critical role in greatly improving customer satisfaction and process efficiency. Businesses that have used JITI have been shown to gain more customers and increase productivity by up to 45%. JITI is the ideal future state for businesses to manage information within an organization. Although the “just-in-time” concept was born in the 1960s, most companies today are still far from mastering this concept.
Mendix believes that in order to successfully implement JITI within an enterprise organization, four conditions must be met: integration, openness, intelligence, and personalization. These four conditions are the “four pillars” that drive digital strategies to achieve JITI, and they are built on a solid foundation of information technology best practices. Each pillar is of equal importance, so businesses can implement them one by one. Every member participating in the process should consider whether the information meets these four conditions, so as to maximize the value of the information in the corresponding process link.
Pillar One: Integration
Information should always serve the decision-making required at each stage of the process. The process should go beyond the system, and the system should not limit the information that can be seen. For example, machinists need to replace parts when repairing equipment, and according to company processes, machinists must update information in the company’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system, Warehouse Management System (WMS) and work order systems. Now, instead of switching between systems, machinists can sync information to those systems with just a few clicks on one interface, allowing them to quickly complete their work. In an integrated environment, businesses can combine and coordinate business processes and make real-time adjustments to processes when needed, using all the information available in the organization.
Pillar Two: Openness
Information in a business is one of the core elements of maintaining a competitive advantage, so care must be taken when sharing it. But in today’s ever-changing, open, globalized world, if you focus only on the inside, you miss out on the opportunities on the outside. Diverse information can serve customers and even create entirely new business models to generate new revenue streams. For example, Mendix customer Mitsubishi leveraged the performance insights provided by Siemens’ low-code applications to enable a new licensing business Model. Sharing information and collaborating with a company’s entire value chain, including suppliers, regulators, logistics companies, and customers, can be beneficial.
Pillar 3: Intelligence
Businesses should be able to deliver real-time, online and offline information on any device through an intuitive, modern front-end. Intelligent information means that data and technology are only used to present valuable information to workers when and where they are needed. Advanced technologies such as machine learning can identify patterns and create proactive alerts, such as a business that can prepare maintenance schedules ahead of time knowing that a piece of equipment will overheat in a few weeks. With these technologies, businesses can do more with less and create greater value for their customers.
Pillar Four: Personalization
End users want to obtain specific information that is valuable at the moment in the process, and this information should provide corresponding information in the process link according to different roles. The information provided would be more valuable if it could support multiple languages and adjust the amount of information displayed according to each employee’s experience level. Providing personalized information based on the immediate needs of individuals in each process segment optimizes productivity and increases value.
Information is at the core of business operations today, and leveraging it can significantly improve workflow, productivity, and communication between different people, and even lead to new business models. Mendix found that there are significant differences in how companies handle information, but companies that can implement the “four pillars” of just-in-time information tend to gain more market share. If JITI is successfully implemented, companies can deliver personalized, integrated, open, and intelligent information to all stakeholders, both internal and external, when and where they need it.
When business processes transcend systems, companies need to break away from information silos and raw data mindsets and create digital strategies through JITI to support business processes. The key to realizing JITI is to get out of the current IT environment, be guided by business goals, and clarify the information needed to achieve the goals and how to implement the goals through this information.
Optimize Field Service Management with JITI
To learn more about how JITI can be applied to field service management, download the eBook, “Making Progress Together: Applying Just-In-Time Information to Improve Field Service Management”