Bookshelf: Make or Break: How Manufacturers Can Leap From Decline To Revitalization

By Kaj Grichnik and Conrad Winkler with Jeffrey Rothfeder, McGraw Hill with strategy+business, 2008, 207 pages, $17.95

The authors offer a comprehensive reminder of how broadly manufacturing companies will have to proceed to grow a leading competitive role in the future. For example, more will be involved than examining and correcting the common flaws and limitations in such things as implementing lean and Six Sigma strategies.

Instead, that optimization should be just be one element in a comprehensive operating philosophy. The recommendation: Implement an operating premise that calls for a complete rejection of the conventional view of manufacturing as a pure cost center. That obsolete view leads to an exaggerated reluctance to invest, the authors warn. Instead, view manufacturing from an extended-value perspective that fully considers the potential return on investments.

The goal is to devise a mix of long-term initiatives and near-term improvements to create the confidence and patience required to achieve manufacturing excellence. the book covers best practices and innovations across industry sectors. Topics are as varied as labor relationships and modernization, material shortages, competing on a global scale and environmental challenges. The authors focus on demonstrating practices to create growth, transform plant operations and heal fragmented supply chains.

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