Management Guru Shows How Industry Leaders Achieve

Article excerpt

Take all of the managerial programs invented in the last 15 years from TQM and JIT to Teams and Focus, put them on a screen and shake. Most of them will sift through.

That's the contention of Richard J. Schonberger, who writes:

"What's left on top is the One Big Idea: Management by numbers, by financial metrics, by top-down numeric goal setting is obsolete, passe, ineffective. The new replacement mode, which involves all employees, is managing the process."

Schonberger, a guru of production and manufacturing, gives us his newest idea from the best and the brightest companies in "World Class Manufacturing: The Next Decade - Building Power, Strength, and Value" (The Free Press, 275 pages, $30).

The author, a consultant based in Seattle, also wrote the best-selling "Japanese Manufacturing Techniques" and "World Class Manufacturing: The Lessons of Simplicity Applied."

His latest book is both refreshing and logical as he shows manufacturers methods to improve their companies.

He notes that many manufacturers are already well on their way to recovery after a down period for the last 25 years. Schonberger illustrates the decline and rise of U.S. manufacturers by looking at the inventory turnover of major corporations. At its low point, for example, IBM's inventory turn bottomed out at around 2.2 times in 1984 (as opposed to a high of seven times in 1964).

Schonberger writes that this general decline in manufacturing was caused by bad strategies and practices in numerous areas, including marketi ng, performance measures, product design and development, supplier relations and human resource management. …