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  • Publicado : 17 de noviembre de 2010
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The prevalent use of "cost" and "efficiency" as the conventional yardsticks for planning, controlling, and evaluating U.S. plants played a large part in the increasing inability of many of the approximately so companies included in my research to compete successfully. However, such goals are no longer adequate because competition is getting rougher and, in particular, because a strictly low-cost,high-efficiency strategy is apparently becoming less viable in many industries.
While the economy has moved toward an era of more advanced technologies and shorter product
lives, we have not readjusted our concepts of production to keep up with these changes. Instead, we have continued to use "productivity" and "economies of scale" as guiding objectives. Both feature only one element ofcompetition (i.e., costs), and both are now obsolete as general, all-purpose guides in manufacturing management.
But I have concluded that the focused plant is a rarity. With the mistaken rationale that the keys to success are limited investment, economies of scale, and full utilization of existing plant resources to achieve low costs, we keep adding new products to plants which were once focused,manageable, and competitive.
Reversing the process, however, is not impossible. In most of the cases I have studied, capital investment in facilities is not difficult to justify when payoffs that will result from organizational simplicity are taken into account. Resources for simplifying the focus of a manufacturing complex are not hard to acquire when the expected payoff is the ability to competesuccessfully, using manufacturing as a competitive weapon. Moreover, better customer service and competitive position typically support higher margins to cover capital investments. And when studied carefully, the economies of scale and the effects of less than full utilization of plant equipment are seldom found to be as critical to productivity and efficiency as classical economic approaches oftenpredict.
The U.S. problem of "productivity" is real indeed. But seeing the problem as one of "how to compete" can broaden management's horizon. The focused factory approach offers the opportunity to stop compromising each element of the production system in the typical general-purpose, do-ail plant which satisfies no strategy, no market, and no task.
Not only does focus provide punch andpower, but it also provides clear goals which can be readily understood and assimilated by members of an organization.
It provides, too, a mechanism for reappraising what is needed for success, and for readjusting
and shaking up old, tired manufacturing organizations with welcome change and a clear sense of
direction.
In many sectors of U.S. industry, such change and such a new sense ofdirection are needed to shift the competitive balance in our favor.

El uso frecuente de "costo" y "eficiencia" como unidades de medida convencionales para la planificación, control y evaluación de las plantas de EE.UU. jugó un papel importante en la creciente incapacidad de muchas de las empresas alrededor de lo incluido en mi investigación para competir con éxito. Sin embargo, los objetivos ya noson adecuados, ya que la competencia es cada vez más áspero y, en particular, debido a que un estricto bajo costo, la estrategia de alto rendimiento es al parecer cada vez menos viable en muchas industrias.
Mientras la economía se ha movido hacia una era de tecnologías más avanzadas y el más corto la vida del producto, no hemos reajustado nuestros conceptos de la producción para mantenerse al díacon estos cambios. En cambio, han seguido utilizando la "productividad" y "economías de escala", como guía los objetivos. Ambos cuentan con un solo elemento de la competencia (es decir, los costos), y ambos se han quedado obsoletas como general, guías de uso general en la gestión de fabricación.
Pero he concluido que la planta se centró es una rareza. Con la lógica errónea de que las claves del...
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