Developing fast operations involves integration with the production systems of critical suppliers. This is a slow and demanding process. However, by accommodating product design, process technology and operations management perspectives, it is possible to achieve the benefits of JIT supply with more suppliers. The principle is to reduce variety in the inbound flow of materials and to create variety Just-in-Time close to assembly. The problem is not variety in itself; the issue is where and when variety is created. The benefits of taking account of supply chain considerations in the design and process engineering stages are illustrated with a case study from the automotive industry. A means for moving the formation of variety downstream in the value adding process is provided by options-based product modelling. In this way, a direct control link may be created between the options chosen by the customer and the variety producing processes.