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Just-in-time manufacturing (JIT), a technique that calls for the reduction of inventory by having materials ready at each point in the manufacturing process, is described. Viewed back-to-front, this translates into production and delivery of finished goods just in time to be sold, subassemblies just in time to be assembled into finished goods, fabricated parts just in time to go into subassemblies, and purchased materials just in time to be transformed into fabricated parts. JIT advocates small-lot production on the basis that it allows production of a daily mix of products that more closely matches demand. Production need no longer be limited to dedicated, high-volume production lines making only one part, or sets of parts, in the just-in-time mode for assembly. The author discusses how JIT challenges traditional manufacturing practices in the United States, with particular impact on four areas: inventory management, configuration of the work center, customer-supplier relations and management-labor relations.