To succeed in today’s environment, it is no longer desirable to have a world class operation focused on providing a “value add” while maximizing resources; it is a requirement. Today’s global business climate is becoming more competitive. It is tough to stand out in the crowd, and it is increasingly difficult to squeeze out an operating profit. Clearly, the trend has been to move operations to lower cost countries such as Mexico and China where there are lower wage rates, less intensive laws and regulations, etc.
There are no quick fixes. Success almost always boils down to a day-to-day persistence in combining continuous improvement with a touch of radical change from time to time. Since it is a long term strategy focused on the basics (blocking and tackling), rarely is the Plant Manager perceived as a “hero” as is the Sales Manager “elephant hunter” when he/she wins a large order. The Plant Manager is viewed as merely “doing his/her job”. Three keys to success include: 1) leading by example, 2) focus, 3) implement a metric tracking process.