GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE MANUFACTURING PRACTICES
The authors of the 19 papers in this section draw upon their experience, knowledge, and expertise to explore many of the principles and practices that characterize world-class manufacturers. Differences in terminology and clarity among the papers are evidence of the communication barriers resulting from the functional specialties in manufacturing and the absence of a common manufacturing language. Despite the diversity of backgrounds and, therefore, the different perspectives from which they view manufacturing—as executives, university educators, and researchers—the authors express a consistent set of themes and concerns throughout this collection of papers:
A “system view” is critical to understanding the key relationships, interactions, and interdependencies of the people and components needed to develop, produce, and market a firm's products.
Manufacturing must move from a historically experiential basis and begin to develop the rigorous theories and foundations needed to understand, measure, control, and predict their performance.
Management has the responsibility to involve and empower the work force to achieve the goals of the organization and must look beyond the walls of the factory to interact with customers, suppliers, and the educational community.
The breadth of the material presented in these papers effectively illustrates the scope of the challenge confronting manufacturers. The practices and concepts discussed here are central to an understanding of the concerns that U.S. manufacturers must address to become competitive in an expanding global marketplace.