xxi
Introduction
There was a joke in the 1980s that went something like this:
Three employees of companies and of different nationalities were caught
up in a coup in a small, foreign country and scheduled to be executed as
spies by the new dictator. Before execution, they were asked if they had
any last requests. The firsta Frenchman—said he would like to hear “La
Marseillaise” played once more. The second—from Japan—said he would
like to give one more lecture on Japanese-style management. The third—an
American—said he would like to be shot first so he would not have to listen
to another lecture on Japanese-style management.
For decades, the United States has been enamored with “Japanese-style
management” and tried somewhat to replicate it in the United States. And
with good reason—we all know that the Japanese have been very success-
ful at producing quality, high-value products since the 1960s. What many
Americans do not know is that an American scientist and statistician, W.
Edwards Deming, is largely responsible for Japans success. Yet, if you ask
someone on the street who he is, they have probably never heard of him.
That is because Dr. Deming’s methodology never completely caught on in
the United States, which is unfortunate because the United States has never
completely caught up with the Japanese in manufacturing.
Deming’s central premise is that improving product quality will increase
productivity and competitive position and ensure long-term survival of the
company. His methodology for achieving higher quality levels is based on
his landmark 14 Points, and Point 12 is the inspiration for this book. It says
that management’s job is to remove the barriers that keep people from tak-
ing pride in their work, which is a profoundly different perspective than oth-
ers, which say that it is management’s job to motivate their employees.
xxii ◾  Introduction
Deming directed his 14 Points specifically to the highest levels of man-
agement, who are expected to handle the parts they are responsible for,
like product design and marketing, while pushing the manufacturing parts
down to their plant managers. For the most part, corporate America has
not embraced Deming’s principles, so the question is can they be applied
at the plant level without direction from senior management? My answer
is a definite Yes! and this book is an attempt to show the reader how. The
one qualifier is that at the plant level there is usually little or no input to the
design of the finished product, so the work is focused on reduction of vari-
ability and elimination of waste and delay in the manufacturing process.
Since I cannot improve on Dr. Deming’s principles, and have verified
them through personal experience as being “truth,” the 14 Points are the
foundation for my “Model Vision” of what a well-run manufacturing plant
looks like. The book provides all the steps in the order needed to achieve
that vision and overcome the barriers encountered in the typical manu-
facturing plant. Once these barriers are removed, the people who work in
the plant are freed to achieve the highest levels of quality and productivity
capable in the system.
Removing barriers is just the beginning. It does not stop there. System
improvement must continue even after every known barrier is removed to
drive variability lower and lower. The organizational structure and methods
presented here are designed specifically to do that.
Each chapter contains essential elements of efcient manufacturing in suf-
cient detail for the reader to gain understanding of the concepts. However,
volumes have been written on many of them, and this book is a road map,
not a detailed treatise, so you may wish to dig deeper into some of the top-
ics. Concepts aside, nothing can be accomplished without specific actions of
the people in the various manufacturing functions. Where this book differs
from other works is that it outlines specic activities management must be
engaged in to eliminate the barriers to producing products that are consis-
tently defect free. While much of this is dependent on processes and equip-
ment, organizational relationships at all levels also play a major role and are
discussed in detail.
The methods presented here are proven to be effective. To provide authen-
ticity, specific real-life examples are sprinkled throughout, and the book
closes with a case study to show how the process can work if given a chance.
This book was written specically for manufacturing plant managers
and their staff—it is hoped people who love their products and the people
who produce them. Instead of being on a “random walk,” it provides each

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