6.26.2017

Lean Initiatives in the Construction Industry -- Can they succeed?

Just this month, Gary Santorella published a new edition of his forward-thinking book, Lean Culture for the Construction Industry: Building Responsible and Committed Project Teams. Much has changed in the construction industry since Gary published the first edition of his book back in 2010, so I contacted him to discuss what he has observed and learned working with professionals in this industry during the past seven years. One of the questions I asked was:“What are the main obstacles to a Lean initiative in a construction environment?” Here is his very candid and insightful answer:

The main obstacle is not an intellectual one, but psychological. In an industry that relies heavily on a multitude of personalities and companies, all of whom have competing interests, there is a natural tendency to resist tools that were developed in a controlled manufacturing environment. When you allow people to talk freely, there is a sense of skepticism that Lean practitioners “just don’t get us or what we do.” And, in many ways, they are right. Many of those trying to implement Lean in the construction industry are a bit tone deaf. They hear resistance as an intellectual challenge, and therefore counter it by generating copious amounts of data, imposing weighty (and sometimes faulty) measurements, and implementing Lean tools in such a way that is cumbersome – all of which only serves to justify the divide.

Given that most Lean practitioners are engineers by training, I understand the inclination to go straight for the analytics rather than attend to interpersonal struggles and issues influencing workplace culture, but in doing so, they ignore the realities of our industry. On any given day, the average Project Manager interacts with scores of individuals, each of whom comes from a variety of different backgrounds. From owners, architects, and city planners, to inspectors, workers and various employees and departments within their own company,  managers in construction, more than any other industry, have to be able to navigate the murky waters of human dynamics and interpersonal politics. That’s not to say that there aren’t ample opportunities for measurement and Lean tool implementation. Pull-planning, Value Stream Mapping, 5S and Kanbans have literally transformed businesses that were bleeding money in the form of waste. We know the flow stoppages that are the result of people choosing to store information idiosyncratically on their personal hard drives rather than using the standard practice of uploading to a common share drive. But when we emphasize data, and measurement, and tools we are taking Lean out of its proper context and missing the most transformative element of Lean – it’s ability to transform a culture.

The construction industry is, unfortunately, fraught with blame, finger-pointing, and self-protective cover-your-butt behaviors. The average Owner-Architect-Contractor meeting is more of an exercise of the fine art of attack and counter attack than productive waste identification and problem solving. Teaching people to use Lean tools in the context of their interactional realities is far more productive than measuring everything. When all of the competing parties understand that there is far more to be gained – financially and psychologically - by viewing problems as opportunities to improve, rather than as weapons, that’s when people start to understand the true power of Lean.

As Lean practitioners, we need be as interested in helping people to embrace the concerns of all of the parties, as we are in implementing the tools. To me, this is the true power of Lean. I love the framework because if implemented properly, it melds process and measurement with the psychological realities of human interest, and embodies the true meaning of the word teamwork by empowering people to change their working environment for the better. It’s exciting and humbling to see people come to the realization that they are far better off as a united whole, than a bunch of separate competing interests who are resigned to doing battle with each other. To me, this is the true power of Lean. The tools should be a means to get there, rather than the end result. 

What do you think of Gary's comments? For those working in the construction industry, do you agree with his observation of behaviors and habits?

5.30.2017

Employee Engagement is More than Just Rewards

At the beginning of May, Kelly Graves published a compelling new book titled The Management and Employee Development Review: Competitive Advantage through Transformative Teamwork and Evolved Mindsets, which helps managers build a motivated an engaged workforce. I spoke to Kelly this past week, and I asked him: What are the common mistakes managers make when trying to motivate employees? What can managers do to successfully engage and motivate employees? Here is his detailed answer:

It is human nature for managers to take the path of least resistance, and this choice often leads to only temporarily solving symptoms -- not the core problems. When motivating employees, however, it is wise to look to behavior modification techniques to guide you. First, let’s look at what most managers attempt to do to motivate employees -- Often, they want to prove they have all the answers or simply short-cut the process due to time constraints, so they follow what they have seen or read what other managers have done to motivate employees. 

Many managers rely on what they think employees want using short-term rewards -- such as money, pizza parties, gift cards, or a fun-oriented team-building event with no long-term follow-through, which can often cause more harm than productivity if not handled by someone educated in cultural dynamics. These are all fun ideas and may provide short-term excitement but they will not create lasting motivation. In fact, employees may not want some of these because they involve spending more time away from their families and more time with people at work, with whom they feel they already spend too much time. In addition, one-time financial rewards doesn’t directly equate to long-term motivation.


As a manager, it is imperative above all else to provide that “why” to your team -- why are they here and why they should embrace the company goals.In other words, you must give them something to believe in that is bigger than themselves.  Provide them with a clear destination, and make sure they understand that this goal is paramount for the success of the organization, the department but more importantly, how it directly impacts their lives. The central objective of a great manager and motivator of people is to touch your employees at their core so they see and believe in your vision as fervently as you. To achieve this higher state, one must climb inside the mind of their employees and tap into their intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is the desire to seek out new challenges, to analyze one's capacity, and to observe and to gain knowledge. It is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on external pressures or a desire for reward. Intrinsic motivation is a natural motivational tendency and is a critical element in cognitive, social, and physical development. Employees who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will increase their capabilities. Employees are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they:

•    Attribute their results to factors under their control, also known as autonomy.

•    Believe they have the skills to be effective agents in reaching their desired goals, also known as self-efficacy beliefs.

•    Are interested in mastering a skill, not just in achieving it for some outside force.

Try these 10 steps to motivate your employees: 
  1. Provide a healthy environment: As the manager, it is your responsibility to provide the environment that enables members of your team to feel challenged and engaged by the work they perform.  
  2.  Create a trusting environment: Trust is a powerful motivational element and managers that are more transparent with their employees will create employees who return that trust. Once trust is part of the culture, innovation, creativity and performance follow. 
  3. Involve them: Asking what  would make their jobs easier, more productive and more fulfilling. In essence, people want to feel valued and acknowledged for their expertise.
  4. Encourage responsible risk taking: Encourage your employees to exceed expectations by taking responsible risks. If they succeed, reinforce the effort and the ability to take responsible risk. If they fail, ask what parts went well and what parts didn’t. Help them to learn and utilize critical thinking skills so they can learn how to learn to take responsible risk. 
  5. Anticipate failure and normalize it: Coach your employees that responsible risk taking comes with a certain amount of experimentation or adjustment also known as short-term failure. This type of thinking must be coached or all you will have on your team are drones following your lead or “doing it the way we have always done it” due to fear to step out of their comfort zones, which will result in continuous mediocrity. 
  6.  Challenging Work: People simply want to improve at their jobs. Overcoming a challenge or finding a creative solution to a problem is a characteristic that strongly motivates employees. 
  7. Career Advancement: One of the most forgotten yet powerful motivators are helping employees outline their careers. Employees are extremely motivated when they know what the next rung on the ladder looks like and what they need to do to achieve it. 
  8.  A clearly defined goal. First the manager needs to outline what the department goals are. Next, spelling out specific tasks and behaviors which support the department goals help employees understand how they contribute to the greater organizational objectives. This helps the employee understand the organizational objectives, how the departments goals directly support’s the organizational objectives and how their specific tasks and behaviors directly support the department goals. This concept transcends work for the sake of work and teaches them how they directly contribute to the success of the company. 
  9. Give regular, direct and supportive feedback: Both positive and performance enhancing feedback is vital to continuous improvement and when done well it provides the motivation to move employees continually on the path toward success. Feedback needs to be timely, specific and presented in such a way that the employee is clear about what behaviors they need to modify or continue using in order to improve performance.  
  10. Recognition and increased status when the goal is achieved: People not only want to be recognized for doing a good job, their emotional well-being depends on it. Similar to involving them in the process is recognizing them in front of others, which increases their status among peers. This simple tip will jump start a poor performer or catapult an already strong performer to superstardom.
What do think of Kelly's advice? As a manager, what do you think works best regarding work culture and employee engagement?

4.24.2017

How Do You Engage, Involve, and Motivate Employees?

Any Lean or performance-improvement initiative cannot survive on tools alone. Leaders must cultivate learning environments and develop the shared values that serve as the foundation for  dynamic culture. This month, Janis Allen and Mike McCarthy published an interesting book called How to Engage, Involve, and Motivate Employees: Building a Culture of Lean Leadership and Two-Way Communication that shows just how important it is to motivate and excite employees to take ownership of their roles.

When I spoke with Mike recently, I asked him, "Why do current employee-engagement programs fall short?” Here is his complete answer:

When asked, “Do you have an employee engagement program?” many managers answer, “Sure! Look at these engagement survey scores.” Beware! Quite often, people tell us what we want to hear on engagement surveys. If you really want to know about engagement, gemba gembutsu (go to the shop floor and see for yourself). Ask questions. Ask operators what ideas they have for improving the work. Then: 1. listen, and 2. help them test their ideas. You are now engaging people in improving their own work.

“Engagement” is a noun. Nouns are names of objects. Engage is a verb. Verbs are action. So, instead of asking your company’s managers “Do you have engagement?” say “Let’s go walk the shop floor and engage with our operators by asking what improvements they are making.” It’s the difference between saying “I have a stapler,” (the name of the object sitting on the desk doing nothing) and saying “I’m stapling these papers” (stapling is a verb, action, and you are doing something).

Engaged = observable actions by employees working on improvements. So, when a visitor comes into your workplace and asks, “Are your employees engaged?” say, “Let’s go talk to them. Then you tell me.” Take that visitor to the work area and introduce him to an employee. Say, “Allie, would you show our visitor the changes the team made on the shop floor?” If your employees can do this, they are actively engaged. The purpose of engaging employees is to inspire them to make improvements they can be proud of.

Survey Scores Vs. Go Engage. My new automobile monitors oil level, tire pressure, and other indicators electronically. I get an email with a link once a month that shows me if the tire pressure etc. has been low during the past month. What’s wrong with this picture? After all, I “have” a tire pressure report. Here’s what’s wrong: If I’m about to go on a long trip, I need to know right now if the tire pressure is low. I need to go to the garage (gemba gembutsu) and measure the psi in my tires by pressing (action verb) my tire pressure gauge to each valve stem and see for myself. When your focus is on a measurement tool rather than the actions you want, you get off track. If you steadily gazed at the speedometer while driving, you’d run off the road!

“What do you want me to say, Boss?” Many employees don’t tell the truth on engagement surveys; they say what they think management expects them to say. And in case this so-called anonymous survey isn’t really anonymous, who wants to be the one who says, “I’m not engaged?” This is another reason survey data is not an accurate indicator of actual engagement.

At an airline departure gate, we heard the announcement, “Please complete our customer survey when you receive the email. We want you to rate us a five, not a four. Five is alive; four is out the door. Ha ha. Just to help you remember to rate us a five, we have this basket of snacks here on the counter for you. Help yourselves. It’s not a bribe or anything.”

We saw a half-dozen people help themselves to the snacks. We wonder how many completed the survey, and even if they all rated the airline “Five is alive,” if it was an accurate indicator of their customer experience, whether they would fly with that airline again, and what they tell their colleagues about that airline. Often, people say what they think someone wants to hear. Why not? The person giving the score has nothing to lose. So beware of surveys. People have all kinds of wrong motives for the ratings they give.

Leaders can show people how they can take actions to make improvements they can be proud of. You can help them to do it. The most important results for your organization are the real actions taken to make improvements. But a positive side-effect of those engagement actions is that answers on engagement surveys will also improve. The survey improvement will be based on employees’ actions, their good results, and the satisfying feeling of being on a team. With action-focused engagement, your survey results will be based on actions and their real experience, not just words! And your company will be growing and prospering. 

Does your company have an employee-engagement program? Does it commit many of the mistakes Mike McCarthy mentioned here?

3.23.2017

Is the Hoshin Kanri Forest More Effective than the Traditional Hoshin Kanri?

Many companies involved in Lean initiatives know the effectiveness of Hoshin Kanri as a policy-deployment methodology. It ensures that an organization's clear strategic goals drive progress and action at every level within that company and it incentivizes proper behavior.

Earlier this year, Javier Villalba-Diez published a book that expands on the concept called The Hoshin Kanri Forest: Lean Strategic Organizational Design. In this book, Javier introduces a theory called the Hoshin Kanri Forest that considers organizations as networks with organizational structure, functional connectivity, and effective dynamic patterns for attaining an optimal strategic organizational design towards the strategic goal of Lean management. I had a chance recently to speak with Javier about his book, and I asked him “What makes the Hoshin Kanri Forest methodology different and more effective than traditional Hoshin Kanri?” Here is his answer:

The crucial finding (there are others) of Hoshin Kanri Forest, and what makes it more effective than traditional Hoshin Kanri methodologies, is that it embeds complexity within the organizational design configuration. For the first time in Lean history, Lean practitioners have a model that enables them to embrace complexity in the management system.

Traditional Hoshin Kanri approaches aim to create alignment throughout the organization by coordinating several organizational units. This is typically done by describing a Hoshin (long-term goal) and cascading or deploying this goal throughout the organization (usually through some sort of problem-solving empowerment methodology). The problems with this approach, which is very deterministic and regular, pops up when complexity arises and the matrix-like thinking is no longer able to cope with the complexity associated usually to product or environmental variability.

To picture an example, the average path length (the number of managers information needs to touch to get from one manager to another in average) of a matrix organization of N=800 managers equals 100. This means that in average, to transmit a message/management order from any given node to any other, we would need 100 steps. The Hoshin Kanri Forest introduces the standardization of business communication through (CPD)nA (which is a developed form of the traditional current-state / target-state based PDCA). By doing so, the Hoshin Kanri Forest is able to create forest-like organizational networks that present several important topological advantages as compared with traditional organizational design configurations.

In the previous example, the APL of a Hoshin Kanri Forest organization is typically APL=ln(ln(N) which for N=800 managers equals APL=1,9!!! This is a 50-fold increase in performance than the traditional design configuration! With the same organization, with the same people, the Hoshin Kanri Forest changes the organizational design to enable the organization to compute complexity. In addition, the Hoshin Kanri Forest shows why methodologies such as Kata do not provide the necessary tool set to compute organizational complexity. But to find out more detail about this and other advantages of Hoshin Kanri Forest, you will need to read the book! ;-) You can visit the book´s website for more information: www.hoshinkanriforest.com

Here is a video of Javier explaining the differences between traditional Hoshin Kanri and the Hoshin Kanri Forest:

2.27.2017

What are Current Leader-Development Systems Lacking?

This month, David Veech published a very interesting new book called Leadersights: Creating Great Leaders Who Create Great Workplaces. This book addresses an important need: How organizations can create a leader-development system that defines, builds, and reinforces critical leader behaviors. When I had the chance to speak with David about his book, I asked him: What is the biggest problem with current leader-development systems and how can they be improved? He provided an insightful answer:

I'm not sure there are problems with leader-development systems that would threaten the livelihood of organizations, but as with everything else in our continuous-improvement community, there are always parts we can improve. I’ve centered and focused on a couple of areas, and I’ve tried to simplify things a bit as I try to communicate with people about becoming better leaders.

After years of studying the Toyota Production System and other companies that demonstrate consistent success, specifically those profiled in Jim Collins’ books Good to Great and Great by Choice, I have come to believe that the key features of any leader-development program must be built on a platform of servant leadership. I get a lot of agreement with this from people, but there are lots of pieces to becoming an effective servant leader.

The most significant of these pieces is the structure of the workplace. If we have an organization structure that is based on traditional, functional silos, and one that bases compensation of the accomplishment of self-set goals, that structure forces leaders into a particularly results-oriented focus, regardless of their personal leadership style preferences. The system affects their leadership behavior. When a leader assumes a new role, the subtle (or not-so-subtle) competitive pressures implied by the results-oriented system force that leader, out of self-preservation, to either undo what previous leaders have done, or make a change that has their fingerprints on it so they can stand out a bit from the crowd. In most organizations, leaders rotate through key positions moderately frequently (sometimes as little as 18 months between roles), and they get conditioned to this kind of activity even though personally they may be humble and very people-oriented. Lean helps because we try to change the work structures for better performance, and because we focus on the development of people as the primary outcome.

Changing the fundamental structure of the conventional organization is a large undertaking, so I have tried to outline something of a more subversive approach than blowing things up and rebuilding from the rubble. We’ll need to first identify what behaviors are truly important to us as a workplace. Empathy. Listening. Encouraging. Correcting. Coaching. These we describe and operationalize in our statement of corporate values, which with our vision and mission set out our operating philosophy. Then we tie these to performance appraisals and bonus compensation. These are hard to measure, so this is a leap of faith for most workplaces. More importantly though, we must have systems and leaders who model and teach these behaviors, and as with other skills we want to develop, these need to be set out in the leaders’ standardized work. I think this might be the biggest departure from what most of us talk about when we describe leaders’ standardized work. Where most of us use this tool as a checklist and reminder of the key things we must complete daily, weekly, and monthly, we don’t articulate how to be empathetic; how to listen; how to encourage. I think we can fix this be setting out standardized work for these types of skills and reinforcing these skills through frequent coaching as a task within Short-Interval Leadership. 

Ultimately, leaders only need to do three things: Decide to love, continue to learn, and let go of the control they think they have over the workplace. Those skills I mentioned are all components of these three decisions/actions/ habits. These allow us to integrate various leadership styles in our daily work, including the “go out and get noticed” piece that I call “connecting”. But I have to take this back to the structure conversation. Without key changes in the way we describe, hire, evaluate, and compensate leaders; and without key changes in how the work is structured in the workplace away from batch-and-queue, lots of handoffs, and transaction-driven and toward flow, it will be very difficult to build these types of leaders for the future.  

What type of leadership-development system exists in your organization?  What are the major factors affecting your leaders' behaviors?

1.23.2017

The Training Within Industry (TWI) Programs -- Are You Using Them Correctly?

An important new book by Donald Dinero just recently hit the streets titled The TWI Facilitator's Guide: How to Use the TWI Programs Successfully. In it, Don explains how practitioners of TWI (Training Within Industry) often alter the programs without understanding the underlying principles. These changes, he contends, have made the programs less effective. During a recent conversation with Don, I asked him specifically: "How have the TWI Programs been recently misused?" Here is his complete answer:

The TWI “J” Programs have many success stories -- those recorded both in the initial period of 1940-1945 and also in the contemporary period after they had been re-introduced. On the other hand, there have been instances in which the TWI Programs have not achieved their intended objectives giving people the idea that “TWI won’t work in our facility because we’re different.” If the TWI Programs are not yielding the intended results, they are not being used properly. Here are some ideas about how these programs are misused which subsequently leads to their being ineffective.

Each of the TWI Programs teaches a skill and each skill is learned for a specific purpose. Just in Time (JIT) teaches us how to transfer knowledge. Job Methods Training (JMT) teaches us how to see waste and improve a process. Job Relations Training (JRT) teaches us how to effectively prevent and deal with personnel issues. For a given program to be seen as useful, the problem that it addresses must first be identified, defined, and quantified. If this is not done, we won’t know whether or not we have achieved what we set out to achieve.

Another area of misuse is when people underestimate the effort and time required to master the skill necessary for the program’s proper use. Outwardly, each program is simple because it is represented by a four-step method. Many practitioners do not realize that it usually takes many hours to fully understand and get a “feel” for how to use each program. Attending a 10-hour session will introduce you to the concepts and methods of each program, but it takes many hours afterward to gain mastery of each program.

A third area of misuse is when practitioners attempt to change a program either to improve it or to have it fit a time schedule or some other parameter. The programs were designed to fit people’s needs and as those needs change, the founders believed the programs should also change. A key point here is that there are some principles in the programs that should not be changed unless society’s behavior changes. Ignoring these principles leads to their being ineffective.

What do you think of Don's thoughts on the misuse of the TWI programs? What have been your experiences when implementing TWI?

12.16.2016

Common Misconceptions About Building a Supply Chain

I recently had a very informative phone conversation with William T. Walker, CFPIM, CIRM, CSCP, about his most-recent book, Supply Chain Construction: The Basics for Networking the Flow of Material, Information, and Cash. During our conversation, I asked Bill: “What are the most common misconceptions about building a supply chain?” Here is his full response:

At the highest level, there are two broad misconceptions about building a supply chain. First, there are businesses that see no need to build or renovate their supply chain. Let me give a few examples from former work colleagues:

One just left his employer to start a computer consulting company. Why would a service company startup need a supply chain? The answer is that third-party relationships, forecasting, planning, matching customer demand with service supply, cash-to-cash velocity, and delivery lead time are each basic supply chain considerations. 

Another colleague just traveled to Shenzhen, China to observe the pilot run at a new contract manufacturer making a new family of products. The parent company is small, engineering focused, and has a limited understanding of the operations side of the business. Why should they care about a supply chain? Won't the contract manufacturer will take care of it? The answer is that demand planning, inventory investment, process variability, and intellectual property protection each depend upon the relationship between the basic supply chain network design and the product design. 

And a third friend recently moved to Texas to establish a cross-border distribution center for product manufactured in Mexico. This was explained to me as just a simple cost-reduction exercise; how is this so important in a supply chain context? The answer is that landed cost, import/export compliance, risk management, information connectivity, and performance metrics are each basic supply chain operational imperatives. Such demand life-cycle events and supply life-cycle events often collide triggering the need to renovate or build a new supply chain.

My book, Supply Chain Construction: The Basics for Networking the Flow of Material, Information, and Cash, presents the supply chain from three basic perspectives. The network container is first. This is the set of trading partner relationships, information transactions, and cash processes that connect from raw materials to the end customer. The product contents are second. These are the locations of inventory items and SKUs across the network that supports product delivery. The matching of demand and supply is third. This is the consideration of push versus pull, capacity constraints, and/or dynamic pricing to operate flexibly and risk tolerantly under both small order and large order conditions.

A second broad misconception is among business organizations that understand the need for a supply chain but think only in terms of their most immediate suppliers and customers. A competitive supply chain is fully integrated and multi-echelon. The detailed blueprint presented in my book sequences the basics of how to build a competitive end-to-end supply chain. It explains how to budget price/landed cost from raw materials to the end customer. The book explains how to calculate inventory turns upstream and downstream. And it presents the concept of a Value Circle to tie together multi-echelon performance measures.

What do you think of Bill's response?  What other misconceptions in regard to building an effective supply chain do you think are worth noting?

11.14.2016

Global Lean -- When the Gemba is All Over the World


For many organizations, manufacturing processes were once contained within specific areas and defined locations, and most managers and supervisors could see and observe the entire work area -- the gemba -- by merely taking a walk.

Currently, however, with globalization, many manufacturing processes have been dispersed over thousands of miles, across oceans, and different time zones. Sam Yankelevitch, in his new book -- Global Lean: Seeing the New Waste Rooted in Communication, Distance, and Culture -- demonstrates how to use Lean thinking to uncover and reduce waste in the interactions required in today's global organizations.

During a recent conversation with Sam Yankelevitch, I asked him: "To succeed globally, what are the substantially new obstacles organization now face?"

Here is his response:

Many companies try to copy and paste the success they’ve had in their natural, local environments when they expand their operations internationally. My experience managing global companies, has shown me otherwise and, in my new book, I’ve tried to share some key items companies and their leaders should be aware of to avoid financial losses.

As the title of the book suggests, communication, distance and culture should be taken seriously. Just labeling these factors as “soft” will not make them go away. “Soft” can have very “hard” impact on your execution and results. A positive point is that Lean thinking applies just as well to reducing or removing these obstacles.

Starting with distance, this is a factor that is related to trust and cause and effect. It is hard enough to establish trust with some of the local stakeholders and being physically separated also creates a mental distance. Furthermore, when cause and effect happen with a longer interval,  problems might not be easy to solve because the source is tough to pinpoint.

Culture is, of course, a very abstract topic, but it affects the way your requests and expectations are perceived by someone outside of your normal circle. One point is sure:  “our way” is not always the best way or the only way when dealing with people from a different culture.

And then there’s communication. Distance and culture are of course factors that influence how a message is sent and received. But it is evident that because communication precedes action, it’s best to figure out how to do this effectively across continents to improve your chances of success.

Success in the past can sometimes turn out to be a big obstacle because circumstances that helped and hastened success previously have significantly changed. It's important for leaders to see new situations in a new light and not be trapped by routine.

Here's a short video of Sam Yankelevitch speaking about the topics covered in his new book:


10.11.2016

Manufacturing... It's Not Just About Production Anymore

Frederick Parker published a book titled Strategy + Teamwork = Great Products: Management Techniques for Manufacturing Companies, and it's quite different from most books on manufacturing in that its primary focus is not production -- Parker emphasizes techniques for excelling in engineering design, marketing strategies, and customer service inside a manufacturing company. He posits that managing a successful manufacturing company in the current competitive global economy requires teamwork between the those disciplines -- It is no longer enough just to be efficient on the production floor. 

Recently, I spent a few minutes speaking with Frederick and asked him why he took this approach when writing this book. Here is his complete answer:

I always viewed management as an art form and tried to perfect it. During my 40 years in leadership roles, I saw many dramatic changes in manufacturing and realized that the old techniques do not work anymore. We need new thinking and new approaches to manufacturing management in the 21st century. There are several reasons for requiring that: the rapid changes in technology, outsourcing of nonessential processes or components, automation, Lean manufacturing, and supply chain management. There are books written about all of these new trends, but my book is unique because it combines all of them into an overall strategy and concludes with this thought: 

Historically the most important task of manufacturing executives was to make the production floor efficient. In a modern manufacturing company, the emphasis must be changed into fostering teamwork among manufacturing, engineering, and marketing because these areas are now the center of profit. The importance of manual labor in the cost of the product is diminished. The cost and quality is determined by the design for manufacturability and the cooperation and teamwork between the manufacturing staff functions.

When I became CEO, I quickly realized what a difference leadership makes in the success or failure of a company. Leadership has changed in the 21st century. The old autocratic ways of management are dead. The management staff has to work as a team and CEOs must listen to them when they set goals. Current executives are much more highly educated and most are specialists in their field.  If you set goals for them that are too high they will not even try to achieve them. Attainable goals is one of the principles in my book. 

Manufacturing strategies in the book include outsourcing, investment in automation, continuous improvement, training and team building. These are the modern tools of manufacturing executives. 

You cannot expect to hire people from different backgrounds and different company cultures to work together as a team without guidance. My book describes various techniques for building your own company culture and fostering teamwork. I hope that documenting my experiences and the techniques that I developed and successfully implemented will help manufacturing executives to be more effective in their jobs.