Synopses & Reviews
Japanese productivity and quality standards have fired the imagination of American managers, but until now there has been little explanation of how to do it
-- how to apply Japanese methods at the actual operating level of U.S. manufacturing plants.
This book shows you how, exposing otherwise well-informed westernized readers to a new world of management ideas. Author Richard J. Schonberger demonstrates that the Japanese formula for success is based on a number of specific, interrelated techniques -- stunning in their simplicity -- and he shows how these techniques can be put to work in American industries today.
Here, in a clear, handbook format, are nine "lessons" for American manufacturers, introducing scores of techniques aimed at simplifying the overly-complex purchasing, inventory, assembly-fine, and quality-control processes of U.S. firms.
At the heart of Japanese manufacturing success are two overlapping strategies: "just-in-time" production and "total quality control." Some American manufacturers already know a little about these methods, but Richard Schonberger provides the most comprehensive description of these techniques available: how they developed, how they all fit together, why they are so potent, and how they "snowball" -- unleashing a powerful chain reaction of productivity and quality control improvements each time more simplification is introduced.
Japanese Manufacturing Techniques will change the way you think. Much of the received wisdom of American management -- "just-in-case" order quantities, statistical sampling for quality Control, and large inventory buffer stocks, for example -- is dismissed by the Japanese as muri, muda, mura: excess, waste, unevenness. In many cases, the Japanese technique is exactly the opposite of American practice ("just-in-time" ordering, quality control at the source, and elimination of buffer stocks altogether).
By emphasizing practical techniques, Schonberger shows how you can implement new methods right away -- without waiting for government policy or market conditions or worker behavior to change. The techniques themselves will improve your productivity and quality, provide strategic advantages in gaining market share, and transform worker behavior. And the author backs his nine lessons with concrete examples of how Japanese techniques are being applied in U.S. plants today.
Nearly 20 tables and figures illustrate the "lessons" given here, and a special appendix describes in full the Toyota-developed kanban inventory system, with the first explanation in English of single-card versus dual-card kanban.
This remarkable book carries you beyond theories and concepts. It's for practical managers who want results: better quality control and greater productivity. Implement these simple steps, and you can begin improving your division's performance now.
W. J. Harahan
Director, Manufacturing Planning Ford Motor Company
Japanese Manufacturing Techniques will be of particular assistance to American industry, especially those industries that are fighting desperately to keep the Japanese from making substantial penetrations in their respective markets.
Robert H. Hayes
Harvard Business School
This is an excellent book -- the most comprehensive and readable description of Japanese manufacturing practices that I have yet seen. It is well researched, extremely well written, and full of valuable information and insights.
Ezra F. Vogel
Director U.S.-Japan Program, Harvard University author of Japan As Number One
For those who want to know how Japanese factories do so well, this is the book to read. Schonberger knows how factories operate. He tells what Japanese factories do in the U.S., exposing the myth that Japanese practices can't be imported and used effectively.
C. Jackson Grayson, Jr.
Chairman, American Productivity Center
Schonberger's book arrives "just in time" and with "total quality" -- two characteristics that he says are the keys to Japanese success. The book truly arrives just in time to offset a rash of superficial books and articles about Japanese manufacturing that skim the surface compared to the authentic detail in this book. It is a quality product.
About the Author
Richard J. Schonberger,
author of World Class Manufacturing
(also from The Free Press), is a world-renowned authority on production and manufacturing. President of the consulting firm of Schonberger & Associates, Inc., in Seattle, Washington, he was formerly George Cook Professor of Management at the University of Nebraska.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Industrial Management in Japan and the World
LESSON 1: Management technology is a highly transportable commodity.
Chapter 2. Just-in-Time Production with Total Quality Control
LESSON 2: Just-in-time production exposes problems otherwise hidden by excess inventories and staff.
Chapter 3. Total Quality Control
LESSON 3: Quality begins with production, and requires a company-wide "habit of improvement."
Chapter 4. The Debut of Just-in-Time Production in the United States
LESSON 4: Culture is no obstacle; techniques can change behavior.
Chapter 5. Plant Configurations
LESSON 5: Simplify, and goods will flow like water.
Chapter 6. Production-Line Management
LESSON 6: Flexibility opens doors.
Chapter 7. Just-in-Time Purchasing
LESSON 7: Travel light and make numerous trips -- like the water beetle.
Chapter 8. Quality Circles, Work Improvement, and Specialization
LESSON 8: More self-improvement, fewer programs, less specialist intervention.
Chapter 9. Prospects for Catching Up
LESSON 9: Simplicity is the natural state.
Appendix: The Kanban System