A Review of ‘World-Class Manufacturing’

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Whether a piece of content is fiction or nonfiction, it’s still easy for it to be relevant to the general populace. Commentary on true current events, for example, makes for good reading while the news is fresh. But such work has an expiration, a point at which it is no longer meaningful. However, when a piece of content—say, a movie or a novel—continues to be relevant well past its creation, it’s almost always because the themes explored in that artwork are timeless and true. It is that moment when that content bridges the gap and becomes art. What do we call, then, a piece of insightful nonfiction that bridges that gap, maintaining its relevance for more than 35 years? Well, the pragmatist may simply deign to call that content “useful.”

Richard_Schonberger.jpgWorld Class Manufacturing: The Lessons of Simplicity Applied by Richard J. Schonberger was published in 1986 as part of the World Class Manufacturing (WCM) vanguard of the time. And yet, a careful read shows that even though many processes have changed, there are fundamental thought patterns that persist in electronics manufacturing. No wonder, then, that Calumet’s Todd Brassard refers to this resource when discussing process excellence elsewhere in this issue.

But what is WCM? As written in the IndustryWeek article, “World Class Manufacturing Methodology Drives Improvement at Case New Holland”:

“Like Lean, WCM actively engages all employees in the continuous-improvement process and is aimed at driving out waste and production losses in the drive for world-class performance... The WCM methodology may be familiar to continuous-improvement personnel in the automotive industry.”

In his book, Schonberger writes that “world-class manufacturing depends on blended management—rather than domination by a separate group of managers—which marshalls resources for continual rapid improvement. To achieve world-class status, companies must change procedures and concepts, which in turn leads to recasting relations among suppliers, purchasers, producers, and customers.”

To read this entire article, which appeared in the May 2021 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.


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