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'OLD-FASHIONED' APPROACH TO U.S. MANUFACTURING THREATENS AMERICA'S LIVING STANDARD, MILACRON EXECUTIVE WARNS - - - 'Learn to Lead, Not Manage,' Meyer Advises; Urges Use of Integrated Production Techniques

 'OLD-FASHIONED' APPROACH TO U.S. MANUFACTURING THREATENS
 AMERICA'S LIVING STANDARD, MILACRON EXECUTIVE WARNS
 - - -
 'Learn to Lead, Not Manage,' Meyer Advises;
 Urges Use of Integrated Production Techniques
 STANFORD, Calif., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. industry is clinging to an old-fashioned approach to manufacturing, and unless it is willing to change, Americans' standard of living is seriously threatened, a top executive of a major machine tool and plastics machinery company told a Stanford University - sponsored conference earlier this month.
 His prescription for management is to embrace the techniques of integrated manufacturing and "learn to lead, not manage." He cautioned, however, that to be successful, industry will have to "swallow some pretty bitter pills."
 'Can't Afford to Lose Manufacturing Base'
 "We simply cannot afford to lose our manufacturing base chunk by chunk," Daniel J. Meyer, chairman and chief executive officer of Cincinnati Milacron, Inc., said, noting that although agriculture and mining, "the other two ways of creating weath," make important contributions to the U.S. gross national product, those contributions simply cannot offset losses in manufacturing.
 "A declining standard of living goes hand-in-hand with shrinking U.S. employment, but a vitalized manufacturing sector can reverse that decline. In fact, it's our best bet to end the recession and help balance our trade deficit," he said.
 "We've all but lost the markets in consumer electronics, steel and cars, but we don't have to keep on losing," Meyer declared.
 'We Know How to Win'
 Speaking to attendees of a conference sponsored by the Manufacturing Club of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Engineering Club, Meyer said, "We know how to win, by using the techniques of integrated manufacturing," but warned that managers must become leaders in order to create the teamwork necessary for those techniques to work effectively.
 Criticizing his own industry, Meyer said that U.S. machine tool makers in the past had seriously underestimated the determination and capabilities of foreign competitors, and "remained engineering-oriented instead of becoming customer-oriented." The federal government's lack of a clear industrial policy contributed to the industry's problems, he said, and "not that much has changed."
 To survive, American manufacturers must have world-class products and world-class operations, he said. "This means we must develop and adopt integrated manufacturing, which in turn requires simultaneous engineering, design for manufacturability, and total quality."
 Using his own company as an example, Meyer gave a detailed report on the company-wide, product-by-product effort, dubbed "Wolfpack," that Milacron is using to redesign products to compete throughout the world.
 'Swallowing Bitter Pills'
 "First, we had to swallow some pretty bitter pills," Meyer said. "We had to get back to the basics and concentrate on those areas we know best and in which we can excel. We also had to come to the realization that today our markets, our competitors, our suppliers, and the technologies we use are all global, and we have to be world-class to compete.
 "We also had to be willing to take radical measures and banish conventional thinking," Meyer said. "And, perhaps the toughest was changing our company's culture, which meant we had to learn to lead, rather than manage, and we needed to work smarter, not harder."
 'Wolfpack' Process Detailed
 The "Wolfpack" process, under which all of Milacron's products are now being redesigned, is a cross-functional team approach. A typical team consists of design and manufacturing engineers, assemblers, inventory and quality control specialists, purchasing professionals and sales people, working closely with single- source suppliers and customers. "Properly executed," Meyer said, "this gets rid of the traditional 'functional silo' approach where departments worked sequentially and in isolation, concentrating narrowly on their own parts of the project."
 Using extensive market research and simultaneous engineering techniques, each team is assigned a project that is approved only if there is potential "to capture a significant market share" and provide at least a 30% cost saving, Meyer said.
 "We don't assign project managers, but instead there is a project leader," he pointed out. "And there is no room on any of our teams for people without open minds, or who can't forget that 'we've always done it this way.'"
 Wolfpack projects put a lot of emphasis on "up front" brainstorming, market research, competitor analysis, vendor input and customer visits. Instead of drawing up a "function specification sheet" that controls the project, the team creates a living document that is easily adapted to new and better developments and ideas. A great deal of attention is paid to manufacturing guidelines, purchasing considerations, quality control and assembly requirements.
 'Get It Right' Before Production Starts
 "The goal is to 'get it all right' before we start actual production," Meyer said. "But even after a Wolfpack product is introduced, we keep looking for improvements. We've found we can lop off a good deal of additional cost by improving methods, processes and procedures."
 He went on to explain the details of two successful Wolfpack products, the "Vista" plastics injection molding machine line, and the line of "Maxim" horizontal machining centers.
 "These are world-class products in terms of features, design and quality, and they're very cost-competitive with both domestic and foreign producers," he said. "Even in slow times like these, they're gaining market share and they're giving us better margins."
 Cincinnati Milacron, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a leading producer of machine tools and systems, plastic processing machinery, and industrial products. Traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CMZ, Milacron reported sales of $754 million in 1991, with more than 30% of sales overseas.
 -0- 05/11/92
 /CONTACT: Albert Beaupre of Cincinnati Milacron, 513-841-7241/
 (CMZ) CO: Cincinnati Milacron ST: Ohio IN: MAC SU:


JP -- NY097 -- 8789 05/11/92 16:37 EDT
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Date:May 11, 1992
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