Souping Up The Supply Chain

Today's supercontractors are turning manufacturers into models of efficiency

Even in this "just-in-time" age, the production line that churns out Hewlett-Packard ink-jet printers in Newark, Calif., is impressive. In response to electronic orders from customers around the country, parts trucked in moments earlier are loaded onto a 110-foot assembly line. Finished printers fly off the other end--and soon are aboard another truck heading to a distributor. The operation is seamless and speedy. But then, what would you expect from one of America's premier high-tech corporations?

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