Saturday, May 23, 2009

Set the Priorities

Teamwork is one of the rallying cries of the new management. Many of the results have become legendary, like the ultra-successful 1989 launch of the LandRover Discovery, produced in 27 months, roughly half the time needed for the previously typical British car. Tony Gilroy, the father of the Discovery, was so impressed by the project that he applied the same principles at his new job, chief executive of Perkins Engines, where by 1994 900 project teams were busily at work revolutionizing performance.
That's a basic principle of teamwork: nobody's perfect - including the team leader - and everybody can be improved. The whole Xerox empire had compelling reason for seeking self-improvement. As the 1980s began, when compared to surging Japanese competition, its indirect/direct cost ratio was double: it used nine times as many suppliers: assembly line rejects were ten times higher: product lead-times twice as long: defects per 100 products seven times as many. All these deficiencies meant that unit manufacturing cost equated with the Japanese selling price.

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