After a decade of updating and modernizing U.S. manufacturing with advanced management techniques (AMTS), competitive results have been generally disappointing. Industrial managers under pressure have relied on AMTS to solve their problems, but in this era of ever more intense and fast‐moving competition, this has generally proven inadequate. Competitors abroad have moved ahead just as vigorously and usually earlier in applying AMTS such as JIT, TQM, and MRP, so the result has been “competitíve gridlock.” Simultaneously, industry is full of misfits between manufacturing policies and strategy, as AMT‐driven managers make and change policies piecemeal. The mediocre results of this conventional, operational mindset demonstrate that sheer productivity improvement or other conventional performance objectives seldom build unique competitive advantage. Winning in competition today requires a different management approach, one which is focused on establishing competitive superiority. Basic structural redesign is the key to clear competitive advantage, but its rare practice signals the presence of problems in the skills, attitudes, and premises of many industrial managers. Rather than continuing the common practice of relying on available AMTS, a new breed of industrial managers is needed, equipped with a breadth of skills which encompass all the functional areas of production and who are business‐ and strategy‐rather than narrowly operation‐ and functionally‐oriented.
Production and Operations Management – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1996