"The World is Flat" is a book by Thomas L. Friedman that discusses globalization of world economies. The idea is that with globalization, goods and services can flow between nations with little to no problems (I haven't read the book, but it's on my list).
Just In Time is a manufacturing technique (sometimes called "lean manufacturing") that attempts to make good "just in time" for sale. Zero inventory is another term I've heard.
So what happens when just in time is not in time? Customer orders a product, yes sir we can have it here in two weeks. But he needs it now! (Actually needed it two weeks ago, but that's beside the point). It has to go through customs, beware of other countries' holidays, admin is in South America, product from Central America or Central Europe, shipping is outsourced to another company, who knows when it will get here?
This is the way all companies work these days, I've just been caught up in it the last few days.