Innovations in Competitive Manufacturing

Innovations in Competitive Manufacturing

Innovations in Competitive Manufacturing

Innovations in Competitive Manufacturing

Excerpt

In the last fifty years, U.S. manufacturing has gone through a cycle: from strength in the fifties and sixties, to weakness in the seventies and eighties, and back again to strength in the nineties. There has never been a time in history when manufacturing management saw so many advances in a short period of two decades. The roaring competition for markets has forced U.S. manufacturers to become more competitive than ever.

During the fifties and sixties, manufacturing was treated as a technical detail within U.S. manufacturing firms while technical personnel without a strategic or competitive perspective managed the function. In the postwar economy, it worked very well because competition for U.S. products was negligible. The resurgence of European and Japanese manufacturing by the end of sixties posed unprecedented competition for U.S. manufacturers. To make matters worse, in the early seventies, under the belief that the U.S. was a postindustrial society, investment in manufacturing began to be neglected.

Competitive manufacturing in the U.S. was made possible by the progress made in a number of areas. For example, progress in competitive manufacturing is attributable to advances in the strategic use of manufacturing, cellular manufacturing, lean manufacturing, focused manufacturing, flexible automation, total quality management, supply chain management, design for manufacturing, mass customization, improved costing, and so on.

With the arrival of the first wave of high quality, competitive Japanese products in the U.S. in the seventies, the lack of strategic thinking in U.S. manufacturing became . . .

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