Introduction

Real Time and the Real-Time Revolution

Ryan Clark of Liberty Bottleworks runs a small plant that makes aluminum drinking bottles. Liberty customers can customize their products online to the exact shape, size, color, and graphic of their choice. Through lean manufacturing, just-in-time inventory, and digital technologies, “we can turn on a dime. We can do customized manufacturing simply and easily,” Clark says. Instead of having to make ten thousand bottles to make a profit, “I can do ten, with the specifications beamed straight from the art department or straight from the customer.” These capabilities for producing customized drinking bottles give this small shop a strong edge over its mass-producing competition.1 One manifestation ...

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