A munitions shortage is showing U.S. defense has a manufacturing issue : The Indicator from Planet Money Just-in-time manufacturing began as a way to save space, remove costs and improve efficiency ... for Toyota. The U.S. defense industry has since incorporated this approach. Now, leaders in the defense industry question whether it's to blame for weapons and ammunition shortages.

This week, we're bringing you a three-part series on the defense industry. Today on the show, we look at how a just-in-time mindset filtered through the military contracting system, and we ask whether bare-bones manufacturing styles are leaving the U.S. in a bind.

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Are we overpaying for military equipment? (Apple / Spotify)

How to transform a war economy from peacetime (Apple / Spotify)

Toyota Camry, supply-chain hero

For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

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Can Just-In-Time handle a new era of war?

Can Just-In-Time handle a new era of war?

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A Ukrainian artilleryman looks at a 155 artillery round. The ammunition has been the center of attention as the U.S. supplies it to war efforts in both Ukraine and Israel. Supplies of the artillery round are quickly becoming depleted. Libkos/Getty Images Europe hide caption

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Libkos/Getty Images Europe

A Ukrainian artilleryman looks at a 155 artillery round. The ammunition has been the center of attention as the U.S. supplies it to war efforts in both Ukraine and Israel. Supplies of the artillery round are quickly becoming depleted.

Libkos/Getty Images Europe

Just-in-time manufacturing began as a way to save space, remove costs and improve efficiency ... for Toyota. The U.S. defense industry has since incorporated this approach. Now, leaders in the defense industry question whether it's to blame for weapons and ammunition shortages.

This week, we're bringing you a three-part series on the defense industry. Today on the show, we look at how a just-in-time mindset filtered through the military contracting system, and we ask whether bare-bones manufacturing styles are leaving the U.S. in a bind.

Related Episodes
Are we overpaying for military equipment? (Apple / Spotify)

How to transform a war economy from peacetime (Apple / Spotify)

Toyota Camry, supply-chain hero

For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

Music by
Drop Electric. Find us: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter.