Making JIT retail a success: the coordination journey

Chee Yew Wong (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
John Johansen (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Publication date: 1 February 2006



Just‐in‐time (JIT) retailers replenish continuously according to the consumer demand. Under unpredictable and seasonal consumer demand, it is essential to coordinate planning and responsiveness with the manufacturers. The purpose of this paper is to study the coordination journey between a toy manufacturer and a JIT retailer, and generates several theoretical propositions on coordination process, behaviours and strategies.


A one‐year case study to describe the unfolding coordination process between the toy manufacturer and JIT retailer. Rich case data is collected because the researcher is one of the manufacturer's project team members.


The coordination process followed some generic sequential stages – evaluating, deriving, offering, assessing and implementing of coordination strategies. Furthermore, the physical flow behaviours and the ordering behaviours are found interactively influencing each other. Especially, the speculative and risk‐averse ordering behaviours have created cyclical excess inventory and low shelf‐availability. Under such uncertain conditions, two counter‐productive coordination strategies were implemented. The two parties later realized several effective coordination strategies – accurate response, differentiated responsive, and coordinated responsive. Moreover, the responsiveness of the manufacturer was actually affected by the order behaviours of all other retailers.

Research limitations/implications

There is generalizable limitation to generate theoretical propositions based only one case study on a dyadic toy supply chain.


Low‐responsive supply for unpredictable and seasonal demand leads to irrational ordering and coordination behaviours, which create mismatch of supply and demand. This paper studies an alternate strategy – the JIT retailing. It includes the problems of coordination behaviours, some observed effective coordination process and strategies.



Yew Wong, C. and Johansen, J. (2006), "Making JIT retail a success: the coordination journey", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 112-126.

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