How to create a competitive business? It’s vision thing, setting the goals high enough, building a team that will exceed their own perceived limitations and doing everything else we’ve all heard about. We’re told, “Survival isn’t mandatory” And, I suppose, we’re seeing this with a vengeance now as the Far East gobbles up huge tracks of our manufacturing industry. It’s not just the high volume, low value products that are migrating, but even sophisticated manufacturing industries that have invested enormous organisational and intellectual efforts in quality improvement and lean manufacturing. Inevitably, it seems, manufacturing is being sucked into the black hole of of the Far East with their huge cost advantages.
Still, let’s not get too pessimistic. Here in the UK, one industry which is a barometer of manufacturing health is doing surprisingly well. I’m talking about the car industry. Never mind that the industry is not “British” owned but in foreign hands - it does a remarkably good job of exporting more cars than ever before, attracting record investment and keeping manufacturing and design jobs in the UK.
Why do car companies still want to manufacture in the UK? It’s due, in part, to the successful uptake of the quality improvement culture and lean manufacturing techniques. The UK work force in the car industry, and its management, have got to grips with the challenge posed by Deming’s apocalyptical remark, “Survival isn’t mandatory”