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Manufacturing Change

Part 1 of 3


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Change and flexibility are the cornerstone for businesses surviving the challenges of the 1990's. Complacency in their attitude toward change is still the watchword for many companies. The emphasis upon gaining short-term results frequently compromises the investment in "intel­lectual energy" needed to effect changes which allow a company to become a World Class performer. There have been few companies who have clearly demonstrated their ability to be agile and flexible and to change direction and focus, at will.

The objective of this presentation is to relate how manufac­turing management must become change oriented to com­pete in a World Class Marketplace. The "fast cycle" mindset has still not taken hold and American manufactur­ing companies are leaving change on the table for other countries to nibble at. "Fast cycle" and agile are key words in describing the attributes of the captains of industry in the future. "Visionary companies" will become postured to instigate the necessary change to stay abreast of world competition. The change agents discussed in this presen­tation include Customer Centered Responsiveness, Process Performance Measurements, A Changing Role for Leader­ship and Rising to the Challenge. "Fast Cycle" oriented change must become second nature to every employee if the company is to survive world class competition in the long run.

Customer Centered Responsiveness

Customers today are becoming more sophisticated and many are looking for business partners who are committed to continuous improvement and who are willing to pass along the savings. Passing along savings has not been the traditional operating practice of companies. Instead, the marching orders, in many firms, has been to use these savings to "recover" from past competitive pressures.

Not only do world class competitors of the future need to be cost conscious, they need to be looking for opportunities to drive costs down and utility of deliverables up. This requires a distinctly different leadership style. High performance oriented companies must be market driven and flexibly responsive. This requires an entrepreneurial acuteness. This also translates into a thinning of the organizational bureaucracy, which, through approvals and any number of delaying tactics, cause the organization to take an inordinate amount of time to get throughput (converting Raw Materials/Resources into collected Rev­enue). In the past, this lethargy has been packaged under titles such as complexity of the product and customers' willingness to forgive. However, in the future, as world class competitive pressures increase, this waste will not be tolerated.

Leadership must surface which is aggressive toward mar­ket needs and on the leading edge of cost control without
compromising quality, delivery or product value. Leader­ship must become aggressively customer focused.

To be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02


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