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In 2007, I began warning SurvivalBlog readers about global over-reliance on Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory management. This system — also called lean inventory management or kanban — was first developed by Toyota in Japan, in the 1950s. There, with largely internal chains of supply that were all clustered around the major cities on Japan’s largest island, Honshu, the kanban system worked with wonderful efficiency. Kanban soon branched out to the other three primary islands: Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Manufacturers were able to cut costs by keeping their parts inventory small, and placing frequent orders to their supplying wholesalers and component parts …

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