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Management article
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Reference no. 86414
Authors: Wickham Skinner
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 1986

Abstract

For more than ten years, American manufacturers have been trying to improve productivity--and thereby enhance their international competitiveness--through cost-cutting programs. But costs have not declined enough, nor has international competitiveness much improved. Instead, our decline has intensified. Real productivity improvement is not easy. Approaches that pare down direct labor costs and make factory workers more efficient have proven fundamentally flawed. Manufacturers need to direct their thinking away from straight cost cutting toward quality enhancement, strategy, and product technology. McKinsey Award Winner.

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Abstract

For more than ten years, American manufacturers have been trying to improve productivity--and thereby enhance their international competitiveness--through cost-cutting programs. But costs have not declined enough, nor has international competitiveness much improved. Instead, our decline has intensified. Real productivity improvement is not easy. Approaches that pare down direct labor costs and make factory workers more efficient have proven fundamentally flawed. Manufacturers need to direct their thinking away from straight cost cutting toward quality enhancement, strategy, and product technology. McKinsey Award Winner.

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