Manufacturing in the
is deeply in trouble. The symptoms are highly visible—loss of
world market share, whole industries lost or threatened, too many
lost jobs and too few new ones, slow productivity growth, and
stubborn recession. Many companies believed impregnable are in deep
financial difficulty. New manufacturing businesses find capital
scarce and expensive. However, an increasing number of successful
companies show clearly that
firms can compete successfully in global markets. This presentation
will cover the requirements for success and the actions needed to
improve performance in all types of manufacturing.
The Situation Today
That manufacturing in the
is in decline is not debatable; the evidence is very clear. Many
whole industries have been lost to overseas competitors. The list
includes consumer electronic products, watches, textiles, shoes,
ships, bicycles, and many more. Other industries—machine tools,
trucks, steel, robots, flat screen and high-definition television,
and semiconductors are struggling, most unsuccessfully, to survive.
Trade deficits, caused largely by shortfall
of hard goods, are enormous.
's share of world markets is shrinking in spite of the lowest-valued
dollar in history. Recovery from the latest recession is agonizingly
slow; growth of Gross Domestic Product is very slow, unemployment
hangs near 7 percent, real wages are dropping, layoffs are too high
and new jobs too few.
Major manufacturing firms, once believed
impregnable, are in serious trouble. General Motors suffers large
losses in spite of heavy restructuring and plant closings. IBM's
traditional markets shrink and they can't make what customers want.
Digital Equipment Corporation,
, and a host of defense contractors fight problems they have not
experienced previously. Many manufacturing companies show symptoms
of lack of control: poor quality and deliveries, slow reaction to
market changes, late introductions of new products, excess
inventory, low profits and little return on investment.
In contrast, there are a few outstanding
successes. Motorola leads the way in radio communication devices,
led by a CEO who focused the company on quality, speed, and
flexibility. Harley-Davidson made a great comeback from near death
by streamlining operations and aiming at the large motorcycle market
niche. A long-time success story, Hewlett Packard continues to
prosper by great flexibility, high quality, and teamwork among
people they believe are their most important asset.
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