Just-in-Time is a philosophy that concentrates on the delivery of a product or service in the time, quantity, and quality desired by the customer. Applying just-in-time philosophy to the service industry by standardizing processes improves customer satisfaction. A fast food drive-through restaurant is a perfect example of how using JIT philosophy and standardization improves the process thus improves customer satisfaction. Implementing continuous improvements in any process is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage over the competition.
According to Gupta (2011), "JIT emphasizes smooth and continuous process flows where neither the goods/services supplied nor the receiver of those goods or services ever has to wait on the other" (pg. 2216). JIT is a continuous improvement effort (a characteristic of lean systems) that reduces waste from the process, thus improving quality, delivery, flexibility, and reducing costs. Waste is any non value-added activity in a process such as movement. Lean processes utilize the pull method. In a pull method the product or service is produced as it is needed. JIT is a pull system in that the service is provided as the customer demands, which is a requirement of customers using fast-food drive-through restaurants. Removing waste can be applied to the service industry, such as a fast food drive through the same as it is applied to the manufacturing process. In the global environment lean is a methodology that must be implemented to remain competitive.