How the World Ran Out of Everything

Global shortages of many goods reflect the disruption of the pandemic combined with decades of companies limiting their inventories.

By Peter S. Goodman and Niraj Chokshi

In the story of how the modern world was constructed, Toyota stands out as the mastermind of a monumental advance in industrial efficiency. The Japanese automaker pioneered so-called Just In Time manufacturing, in which parts are delivered to factories right as they are required, minimizing the need to stockpile them.

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