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Turning the page on quality manufacturing.

Meeting the varying requirements of quality audits or standards for certification by suppliers, industries, or quasi-governmental groups (the European Community, for example), isn't making the quality quest any easier. Fortunately there's growing body of literature on quality manufacturing to help. Here's a sampling:

The Manufacturers' Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), Washington, says that the adoption of ISO 9000 standards by the European Community will likely make ISO 9000 certification for many product lines "a de facto condition of doing business in Western Europe." De facto is Latin for "if you don't have it, you can't get in."

MAPI believes that the EC Council "is exploiting the differences between the US and European standard-setting systems and government-business relationships to its own advantage."

MAPI's report has a number of recommendations which begin with federal leadership in protecting US business access to the EC market to greater strategizing by US exporters and their involvement in the standards setting process through their subsidiaries.

What's needed, says MAPI, is an agreement between the EC and US government and manufacturers that none of the product directives will be enforced until a mutual recognition agreement for testing, accreditation, and certification has been signed and US-based registrars have official status in the EC.

Also, US manufacturers should explore ways of using the ISO 9000 certification process as a substitute, or at least as a partial substitute, for costly and increasingly frequent supplier quality audits in the US. The EC's New Approach to Regulation of Product Standards and Quality Assurance (ISO 9000): What It Means for US Manufacturers, MAPI, 1200 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20036. $15 members/$20 nonmembers; 202-331-8430 or circle 276.

Confusion among US manufacturers should not be unexpected, especially when ISO 9000 doen't have the force of law behind it for most products and services. But it will have something far more formidable, according to the American Society for Quality Control, Milwaukee, Compliance will be commercially driven by competitor usage and customers who "may require" manufacturers to have a quality system that meets ISO 9000. Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About the ISO 9000 Series, ASQC, P O Box 3005, Milwaukee, WI 53203; 414-272-8575 or circle 278.

Trying to make sense out of all the noise that is being generated in the name of quality continues to challenge manufacturing managers. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Ann Arbor, MI, is readying its Achieving Excellence in Manufacturing program to help small and mid-sized companies perform a do-it-yourself assessment of their quality programs as measured against the requirements of 12 major commercial and governmental quality audit standards. NCMS, 900 Victors Way, Ann Arbor, MI 48108-1779; 313-995-0300 or circle 279.

What other companies are doing in quality is especially useful as a benchmark. MAPI's Survey on Quality--Using the Malcolm Baldridge Award Criteria To Determine the State of the Art gives a pretty good snapshot of what is going on based on survey responses of 131 companies. $20 members/$25 nonmembers. MAPI, 1200 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 or circle 282.

A new book by V Daniel Hunt introduces a "Quality First" methodology which is intended to show how to create a strategic advantage over competitors and benchmark the level of quality performance in an organization. The book demystifies the different quality philosophies of Deming, Juran, Crosby, and TQM. Quality in America, 308 pp, Business One Irwin, 800-634-3966, $24.95.

For the chronic quality problem solvers among you, World Class Quality is a book by Motorola quality and productivity executive Keki R Bhote that brings the powers quality tools of Dorian Shainin to life in simple language. DOE techniques are credited with taking hundreds of companies from high defect levels to zero defects--and even to zero variation. World Class Quality: Using Design of Experiments to Make It Happen, 224 pages, AMACOM, New York, NY, $24.95.

Japan focuses on technology

When a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) joined a US manufacturing study mission to Japan, which was headed by the Dept of Commerce, the trip provided an opportunity to meet and hold open discussions with Japan's top industrial leaders.

Philip Francis, chief technical officer of Square D Co, Palatine, IL, and 13 others visited the factories and research centers of companies including Nippon Steel, Sony, and Toyota. The delegates also met with officials at Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, and Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers.

The team found that part of Japan's manufacturing success is due to its focus on technology. They learned that more than 50% of Japanese executives hold engineering degrees, and on average they are more knowledgeable about technical affairs than their counterpart in the US. Says Mr Francis, "Technology and research and development are clearly the forces that drive business strategy in industrial Japan."

Mr Francis also notes the Japanese tendency to think about long-term process improvements, as well as the practice of soliciting and analyzing customer feedback about products and services. He says that Japanese employers are strongly committed to job training and rotate factory workers as well as white collar managers among different job functions and assignments so that employees receive the broadest experience possible.

According to Mr Francis, Japanese workers are very concerned with production quality and offer many suggestions for improvement. At Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries for example, each employee submits an average of 18 suggestions for improvement each year.

Mr Francis is founder and editor-in-chief of Manufacturing Review, ASME's quarterly journal.

Understanding the Japanese

Before we say don't try, let's take a look at what Ellen Cook, PhD, professor of accounting and international business, University of San Diego, had to say in the USD's School of Business Administration newsletter based on her experience working in Japan as manager of Trammell Crow's Japanese operations.

Prof Cook says that you have to imagine half the population of the US living on an island smaller than the state of California without its natural resources, "though like California, rich in human ones."

Isolated, homogenous, and only one generation removed from the agrarian life and work ethic, the Japanese have to work together to wrest a living from the land. "Not surprisingly, Japanese business behavior is rooted in traditional ways of relating to each other," says Prof Cook. Here's how:

* Group consciousness

"The nail that sticks up gets hammered down' is a time-honored Japanese proverb that expresses the Japanese proclivity to identify with the group. In Japan, a foreigner will always be outside the group--no matter how the group is defined. In America, the working relationship can be enhanced by invoking membership in a group that includes the Japanese boss, colleague, supplier, or customer. Examples of such groupings are: working for the same company or in the same industry, belonging to the same service club, enjoying the same sport, or having children at the same school.

* Purity of heart

"One reason that it often takes a long time to accomplish anything when working with the Japanese is that it is crucial to the Japanese to establish a firm common ground of good intentions with those with whom they do business. The Japanese prefer to deal with people they know personally, not just on a transactional business basis.

* Harmony

"Harmony in all things is desired by most Japanese. Harmonious personal relationships are paramount within the group. The avoidance of actions which might disturb harmony will often make the difference between success and failure in dealings with the Japanese.

* Hierarchy

"Japanese people are very sensitive to hierarchy. Everything and everyone are ranked. Senior people must be treated with the respect due them, even though they may not be the obvious decision makers. It is usually appropriate to do business with someone of equal rank.

* Honne vs Tatemae

"Tatemae refers to what is apparent or on the surface. Appearances are very important to the Japanese. They are masters of form, whether it be poetry or martial arts. Yet the Honne, what is real or true, is even more important. Seeing beyond the formality to the essence is a skill that many Japanese have cultivated to an art. Americans, on the other hand, value being |up front' and too often interpret sublety as deviousness. In dealing with the Japanese, Americans must practice patience and perseverance to succeed."

Revitalize US industry

Revitalizing American industry has become the mission of Robert P Collins, president and CEO of GE Fanuc Automation. Because of recent world events such as the formation of the EC and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mr Collins says that we are living in a new economic arena where the long-term opportunity for US manufacturing businesses is very good--if companies shift their marketing strategies to include these rapidly growing economic areas. On the other hand, the US is facing a sustained period of low economic growth at home. Mr Collins says we are faced with a need to meet intensified global competition with world class manufacturing capability.

He feels that if the US is to be successful, we must pick up the pace. At a meeting of government, university and business leaders he stressed that "the nation must implement a bold national initiative whereby the year 2000, we completely revitalize both the work force and the infrastructure of the US industrial base. .. a sustained national effort by government and industry throughout the 1990's will be required to revitalize and modernize America's industrial base."

Mr Collins cited the four critical actions recommended by the National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing:

* strong national leadership,

* 10% tax credit for investment in industrial machinery and equipment.

* creation of a national industrial technology expansion program,

* incentives to firms to increase worker training.

GE Fanuc has already established two priorities for its business: raising the quality and velocity of everything the firm does and improving the productivity of its customers with its products and services. In order to achieve these goals, Mr Collins feels that the company has to "deploy the best information, design, and manufacturing technologies throughout business" and have a competent, energized work force.

GE Fanuc's philosophy is aimed at developing a highly involved work force where managers become coaches who lead and encourage, rather than police and direct employees. It has also used a technique called "process mapping" to change its way of managing. With this strategy, teams of cross-functional people examine each step of getting new products to market, as well as daily plant operations. Traditional operating procedures were challenged and changed, contributing to the following results:

* design cycles reduced by 30% to 50%,

* manufacturing cycles reduced in half to two weeks,

* building to customer order vs to marketing forecast,

* inventories cut by one-third in less than one year,

* total cost productivity of 8%,

* worldwide recognition and awards,

* certification to the world quality standard ISO 9001.

New MAPI council formed

The Manufacturers' Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) has formed a new Council on Engineering and Technology. MAPI feels that if US industry is to be competitive and achieve global leadership in high-quality products and services, lower costs, and market share, engineering excellence is a prime requirement. This includes excellence in engineering practices, engineering planning and control, and engineering leadership and professionalism.

The Council will consist of a group of senior executives in engineering--those who have responsibility for providing engineering leadership, planning and controlling engineering tasks, and monitoring engineering practices. In some cases, the senior engineering executive may have the title of vice president-engineering, vice president-technology, vice president-productivity, chief engineer, or director of engineering, etc. It's expected that the first meeting of the Council will be held in fall 1992 in Washington, DC.

For information from MAPI, phone 202-331-8430 or circle 198.

Visit JIMTOF Tour Japanese Industry

Join the Tooling & Production Study Team, led by Editor-in-Chief Stan Modic, on a trip to Japan.

Learn first-hand the Japanese secrets to success in metalworking manufacturing. Find out how Japanese companies achieve their superior quality. See their programs in action on the factory floor. Talk to the Japanese managers who are making them work. In addition, spend several days at the Japan Machine Tool Fair--JIMTOF--in Tokyo exploring the latest in metalworking technology that'll be invading the United States markets in the next few years.

This 11-day study mission will focus on the latest in metalworking technology, machine tool advances, automation, and producing quality parts. It is being arranged through the cooperation on the International Productivity Service, headquartered in Washington and the Japan Productivity Center in Tokyo. Here's what's planned for the program:

* The team will leave the US on Saturday, Oct 24,

1992, and return Tuesday, Nov 3.

* You'll visit the Japan Productivity Center for a

conference on the productivity movement and the total

quality movement in Japan presented by experts.

* A visit to the Ministry of International Trade &

Industry (MITI) to be briefed on Japan's industrial policy

on automation and the futuristic Intelligent

Manufacturing System project it proposed for joint study

by Japan, Europe, and the US.

* Three days of visits to several metalworking

factories in Japan to see first-hand Japanese automation

and quality programs at work.

* Four days to visit the extensive Japan International

Machine Tool Fair in Harumi, near Tokyo.

The tour cost includes all arrangements for air fare, hotel accommodations, all transportation within Japan, tour guides to handle travel details, and professional tecnical interpreters. Accompanying the group, which will be limited to about 25 persons, will be Stan Modic, Editor/Publisher of Toolling & Production, a veteran of such programs having led his first study mission to Japan in 1973. Also traveling with the group will be Joji Arai, who headed up the US office of the Japan Productivity Center for more than two decades and is now head of the International Productivity Service in Washington. Because of his long experience with US manufacturing, customs, and idion, Mr Arai is particularly well suited to put what you witness in Japan's factories into perspective.

If you are interested in more information on joining this unique Study Mission, call, write, or fax: Stan Modic, Editor/Publisher; Tooling & Production; 29100 Aurora Road, Suite 200; Cleveland, OH 44139. Phone: 216-248-1125. Fax. 216-248-0187.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Management Update
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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