2Introduction to Analysis

2.1 INTRODUCTION

When Dr. Gerhard Plenert was traveling in Japan working with his co-author on a different book, he would often join in with a group of academics and Toyota executives to discuss Toyota Production System principles. One night, during one of these discussions, the conversation turned to the United States. One executive asked, “Do you want to know what’s wrong with the United States?” Unfortunately, this is a conversation that occurs far too often during international travels. Everyone seems to know what’s wrong with the United States and they are eager to share their insights on how to fix the issues.

Dr. Plenert was tempted to answer by saying, “No. But I can tell you what’s wrong with Japan.” Instead, ...

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